A 32-year-old man has been arrested on attempted rape and other charges for allegedly shoving a woman off a walking trail in Queens’ Forest Park in a brazen sex attack over the weekend, prosecutors said Tuesday.
The woman, 51, was strolling along Orange Trail in the park around 6:30 p.m. Saturday when prosecutors say Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, who has no known address, allegedly tapped her on the shoulder. As she turned towards him, Cardenas allegedly hit her in the face and tried to kiss her, officials say.
The sudden movement caused the woman to fall to the ground, at which point Cardenas allegedly dragged her into the bushes, pulled down her pants and got on top of her, according to the criminal complaint. He is also accused of wrapping a cloth around the woman’s neck and choking her. The woman’ screamed and fought back; a passerby heard her yell and the suspect ran off, officials say.
The woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of various injuries.
“A casual walk through one of the borough’s parks turned into a living nightmare for this woman,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement. “She bravely thwarted being raped, but this kind of depraved violence should not happen in our parks or anywhere in our community.”
Cardenas was remanded to police custody after his arraignment this week. He’s due back in court late next month and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. No information on a possible attorney for him was immediately available.