Browsing articles in "Bronx News"
Dec 9, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Suspect in Bronx, Yonkers cold-case murders extradited from Fla.

A former Bronx man was shipped to New York Friday to face rape and murder charges.

Christopher Gonzalez, 36, was brought back to the Bronx to face justice for killing 19-year-old Dora Almoteser in her apartment on E. 180th St. in Van Nest on Dec. 2, 2000, police said.

Gonzalez allegedly raped Almoteser and strangled her with a phone cord.

He is also charged with the murder of 25-year-old Angel Serbay in Yonkers. Serbay was raped, strangled, and dumped on the side of the Sprain Brook Parkway.

Cops were able to link the cases after they matched DNA from both bodies.

Gonzalez was tied to crime by a fingerprint he left on a telephone cord in Almoteser’s apartment.

Bronx cold case detectives arrested Gonzalez in Florida in November.

He is expected to be arraigned Monday, authorities said.

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Dec 8, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Golden Krust workers slap chain with wage lawsuit after CEO dies

The Golden Krust restaurant chain was hit with a wage lawsuit just days after its CEO committed suicide.

Two former Golden Krust employees, William Anderson and Sixto Ramirez, say the company routinely stiffs workers on overtime pay, according to a suit filed in Manhattan Federal court Thursday. The complaint also seeks class-action status.

Owner Lowell Hawthorne, 57, killed himself inside his Bronx factory last Saturday. Hawthorne was facing another overtime lawsuit, extensive tax debt and owed more than 0,000 in city taxes, sources said.

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Dec 8, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx intersection renamed for Batman co-creator Bill Finger

It was a bright day for the Dark Knight’s oft-ignored co-creator.

About 100 die-hard Batman fans gathered Friday as a Bronx street corner was dubbed Bill Finger Way, honoring the man who teamed up with comic book legend Bob Kane to invent the Gotham City superhero.

“This is so exciting,” said Athena Finger, granddaughter of the revered if still obscure collaborator behind the Caped Crusader. “I really appreciate the that the city does recognize the contributions Bill made.”

Finger was in up to his elbows when he and Kane conjured up the Batman for Detective Comics #27, where the cowled crimefighter made his debut in May 1939.

Study finds kids perform better dressed as Batman

But a clause in Kane’s contract insured that he received sole credit for developing Batman, leaving Finger to live through decades of virtual anonymity until his 1974 death at age 59.

The unsung Finger, in fact, came up with the name Bruce Wayne for Batman’s alter-ego and helped develop arch-villians The Joker and the Penguin.

The street naming was held at the corner of E. 192nd St. and the Grand Concourse near Poe Park — where Finger would bounce ideas off collaborator Kane.

“Bill Finger not only lived in the Bronx, but conceived of Batman while he was in Poe Park,” said Councilman Ritchie Torres. “We’re not only here to celebrate Bill Finger, but also what he symbolizes: The creative grandeur of the Bronx.”

Ben Affleck looking for a ‘cool way’ to leave Batman role

Torres was joined by Finger biographer Marc Nobleman, author of the biography “Bill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman.”

“The next step is a statue,” Nobleman told the crowd on a brisk December morning.

DC Comics finally acknowledged Finger’s role in the creation of the iconic comic book, television and movie figure in 2015. Kane had done the same 25 years earlier in his autobiography.

“Bill Finger was a contributing force on Batman right from the beginning,” wrote Kane.

Jim Carrey says Tommy Lee Jones hated him during ‘Batman Forever’

Finger fanatic Scout Lundwall, 20, made her first trip to New York for the event, flying in with her mom from Saratoga Springs, Utah.

“My high school senior research paper was on Bill Finger,” she said. “I’ve just always loved Batman.”

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Dec 7, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Student suing Riverdale school claims he was wrongfully expelled

A student filed a lawsuit against the elite Riverdale Country School claiming he was wrongfully expelled over a bogus rape allegation, the Daily News has learned.

The teen, a junior referred to as “John Doe” in court papers, says the ,000-per-year school “ignored the overwhelming evidence in the record” that cleared him.

This evidence included his accuser’s statement to cops that he “did not rape her or force her to do anything,” according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court.

“It didn’t make any sense,” he said of the allegation in an exclusive Daily News interview. “I’ve always been a very good student. I’ve never been in trouble before. I just want to go back to school.”

Perv prep school teacher convicted for sleeping with teen

Riverdale “made an arbitrary and capricious decision” in kicking him out on Nov. 21 — and the boy is suing to get back into school, his lawyers claimed in court papers and at a proceeding Wednesday afternoon.

The teen maintains he and his accuser were friends who began a consensual sexual relationship in summer 2015, the suit claims.

He ended things in late 2015, but she “did not take it well,” the suit claims. He says he cut off their friendship entirely until this past February.

Mutual friends told him at the time that she was struggling emotionally and he reached out, the suit contends. As summer neared, they resumed their relationship, according to the suit. He left the country to spend the summer with his dad, but they kept chatting via WhatAapp, court records show.

Perv prep school teacher convicted for sleeping with teen

The teen thought things were fine until he was abruptly removed from class on Oct. 27. School officials called the boy’s mom and told her the girl had “made serious allegations” against her son.

The accuser’s psychologist, according to court papers, claimed the girl had disclosed a sexual assault from summer 2015. This psychologist then told the school about the disclosure, court papers charge.

When police interviewed the girl, referred to in court papers as “Jane Doe,” she allegedly “stated on the record that plaintiff John Doe did not rape her or force her to do anything,” the suit claims.

“The NYPD’s investigation concluded with the finding that the allegations against plaintiff John Doe were baseless. The NYPD forwarded their findings to defendant Riverdale Country School and closed the case,” the suit charges.

Prep school teacher busted for sex with student

A Riverdale staffer told the boy’s mom on Nov. 3 that cops had cleared him of assault allegations.

Still, Riverdale honchos called the mom and son in for a meeting on Nov. 6 and said he had been accused of harassing Jane Doe, including “name-calling, kissing (her) on the cheek, unsnapping her bra and touching (her) butt,” his lawyers claim.

They ultimately expelled him for the alleged harassment, according to the suit, filed by lawyers Abadir Barre and Rafael Urena.

A lawyer for the school insisted in court that the expulsion was based on credible allegations of harassment — not rape.

Riverdale catcher headed to Virginia

“What sparked the investigation was finding the girl crying and distressed in the cafeteria,” the lawyer said.

School officials declined comment on the lawsuit.

“We can’t comment because the judge has sealed this case, a decision we respect because of the teenagers involved,” Riverdale said in a statement. “We always put the best interests of all our students first, and expect their behavior to meet our high standards for mutual respect.” 

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Dec 7, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx after-school worker cuffed in alleged rape after phone call

An after-school worker was busted for raping a 13-year-old Bronx student after he was caught making incriminating statements in a phone call set up by police, sources said Thursday.

Michael Jenkins, 24, was speaking to his victim on a line monitored by cops when he expressed concern that he could be jailed for his illicit tryst with the young girl from Angelo Patri Middle School, sources said.

The suspect also wondered aloud whether he could trust her, sources said.

Unbeknownst to Jenkins, officers from the Bronx Special Victims unit were waiting outside his home in the shadow of Yankee Stadium Wednesday night.

City teacher at Westchester high school faces rape charges

The officers moved in after the call, knocking on the door and cuffing Jenkins as soon as he stepped outside, sources said.

Jenkins, an employee of the nonprofit East Side Settlement House, was expected to be arraigned later Thursday on several charges including rape.

“The individual was immediately suspended without pay and he is no longer permitted in any schools,” said City Hall spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie.

Lapeyrolerie added that the city has suspended funding for the program as it investigates the incident.

High school students spell out ‘rape’ during football game

East Side Settlement House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Jenkins had three prior arrests related to marijuana, sources said.

He had received clearances to work inside schools from the city and state agencies that oversee background checks, officials said.

Sources said Jenkins and the young girl exchanged text messages on Sunday to set up the rendezvous, police sources said.

School official tells alleged rape vic to ‘turn the other cheek’

The plan called for them to play hooky on Monday and instead meet up at Jenkins’ home on Anderson Ave., sources said.

The victim, who is a member of the nonprofit program that employs Jenkins, met him for sex at 9:30 a.m. Monday, sources said.

The incident was reported to police, and two days later, cops arranged the damning phone call between Jenkins and the middle-schooler, sources said.

Some parents said the incident has caused them to rethink allowing their children to attend after-school programs at the Fordham Heights school.

Teen tried raping 16-year-old girl in Queens high school

“They should check the backgrounds of all their after school workers,” said Gloria Pagan, 37, whose 11-year-old daughter attends the school.

“I always trusted them. This past week my daughter told me she wanted to attend after school but there’s no way she will now.”

Luiz Perez, the father of an autistic 13-year-old girl, was shaken by the news of Jenkins’ arrest.

“This is crazy,” said Perez, 34. “I thought this was a perfect school but now I know you can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Ohio school superintendents charged in child rape case

The irked father said the incident made him worry about his daughter’s safety.

“These adults have her confidence and can easily manipulate her,” Perez added. “I might have to take her out in the next couple of weeks if they don’t deal with this guy.”

Founded in 1891, the Mott Haven-based East Side House Settlement is one of the city’s oldest nonprofit social service organizations.

It boasts more than 600 staffers and an annual budget of more than million.

University of Alabama sued over rape victim’s suicide

The nonprofit operates programs at more than two dozen schools and other locations across the city, with a number of after-school programs, day care centers and summer camp operations. 

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Dec 7, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx after-school worker held in rape of 13-year-old student

An after-school group leader at a Bronx middle school lured a 13-year-old student to his home, where he raped her, police sources said Wednesday.

Michael Jenkins, 24, who supervises kids after school at the Angelo Patri Middle School on Webster Ave. at Folin St. in Fordham Heights, was arrested Wednesday on rape, criminal sex act and other charges, sources said.

Jenkins persuaded the teen, who attends the school where he works, to come to his Concourse apartment Monday, cops said. There, the two performed oral sex on each other and had intercourse, cops said.

It wasn’t clear if Jenkins is an employee of the public school system.

A city Education Department spokesman did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

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Dec 7, 2017

BRONX NEWS: City to replace noisy diesel light towers with solar units

The city plans to ditch its diesel-powered light towers — used to illuminate special events or ward off crime — for new solar units, officials said Wednesday.

City officials have completed a contract with Progress Solar Solution to supply solar-electric, zero-emission light towers for its mobile fleet operations.

The lights will replace the 530 towers currently powered by diesel — which, in addition to being worse for the environment, are noisier, more labor-intensive to turn on and off and produce an odor.

The five-year contract to make the switch totals .4 million. 

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Dec 6, 2017

BRONX NEWS: NYCHA chair struggles to explain lead-paint lies at interrogation

Facing a hostile City Council Tuesday, NYCHA Chairwoman Shola Olatoye bobbed and weaved and suffered memory lapses as she struggled to explain why she’d falsely claimed the agency had performed all its required lead-paint inspections when she knew it had not.

During three hours-plus of sometimes acerbic interrogation, the embattled chair was forced to admit that multiple failures have caused NYCHA to reexamine the entire scope of its lead-paint problem.

She revealed that in the last year, untrained staff have “cleaned up” thousands of apartments with lead paint that house children under 6.

All have to be redone.

NYCHA tenant and mom furious with de Blasio’s lead-paint lies

She had to upgrade the number of NYCHA apartments that require annual checks from 4,200 to 8,900 “out of an abundance of caution” because some may have been improperly exempted from inspection.

But much of the inquiry focused on why in October 2016 she falsely certified to the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development that NYCHA was performing all required lead-paint inspections.

“There was no intention to mislead or lie to the regulator,” she explained, adding, “Signing the form at that time was a mistake.”

While Olatoye flatly denied telling Mayor de Blasio or consulting with his top lawyer, Zachary Carter, about her decision to do that, she was less explicit about her conversations with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.

City Hall claims they didn’t know about NYCHA lead paint lies

Asked about Glen, she replied, “I meet regularly with the deputy mayor…but I don’t recall a conversation about this certification.”

Later, a mayoral spokeswoman, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, said, “The chair didn’t notify anyone at City Hall about this.”

Throughout it all in the second row sat Red Hook Houses tenant Sherron Paige, mother of 4-year-old Kyan Dickerson, whose blood-lead level is elevated.

As the testimony unfolded, she wiped a tear from her eye.

“From NYCHA’s neglect of my apartment, my child is now suffering with delayed speech and behavioral issues,” she told the committee.

Mayor “de Blasio’s comment that this isn’t affecting children is wrong.”

Questions about NYCHA’s ability to monitor and abate lead paint first surfaced in March 2016 when word emerged the Manhattan U.S. Attorney was investigating whether the agency had been misleading about its efforts to address multiple apartment issues, including lead.

That investigation is ongoing.

At the time, de Blasio claimed at a press conference that NYCHA had an “aggressive” lead-paint initiative and Olatoye told a council hearing the authority was in compliance.

Within weeks, Olatoye told the mayor that NYCHA was not in compliance with a local law requiring annual inspections for apartments with children under 6.

Soon after, she told him NYCHA was also violating federal regulations requiring the inspection of some 55,000 apartments with presumed lead paint.

The mayor and NYCHA withheld that information from tenants, the public and the council for more than a year.

“In hindsight, our communications could have been better,” Olatoye admitted.

During much of the hearing, Council members blasted Olatoye for a persistent lack of transparency and a deliberate effort to withhold damaging information.

“I am deeply disappointed in the testimony today,” said Public Housing Committee Chairman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx). “My confidence in this agency is shaken by this testimony.”

Torres called the hearing after a Nov. 14 report by the city Department of Investigation made public NYCHA’s pattern of false certification that all was well with its inspections for lead paint.

Subsequent to that, the Daily News revealed how de Blasio sat on the damning information about NYCHA’s non-compliance for more than a year.

The News also exposed the fact that for years, NYCHA workers without required training had routinely inspected and cleaned thousands of lead-tainted apartments.

A source familiar with this effort said that NYCHA has no true picture of the scope of the problem and has potentially put tenants in danger by allowing them to move into toxic apartments that had falsely been deemed “clean.”

NYCHA’s longtime use of untrained workers for lead-paint inspections and cleanup dominated much of the hearing.

Under questioning, NYCHA admitted that in the last year, staff without the required training did “paint correction” on 2,363 apartments with lead paint where children under 6 live.

As a result, the city is now offering to test the blood-lead levels of all children living in those units.

Deputy Mayor Herminia Palacio said the number of children with high-lead levels in the city has fallen each year, but she admitted that in 2016, only 80% of children age 3 were tested while no one tracks if children 7 through 10 are tested at all.

For months the authority has said 55,000 apartments with presumed lead paint must be inspected, but on Tuesday even that number was up for grabs. Olatoye admitted for the first time that in prior years, some apartments may have been incorrectly “exempted” from lead paint testing.

And DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, who detailed his report’s findings, made clear that the story isn’t over.

When Torres voiced concern about NYCHA’s use of untrained workers for lead-paint cleanups, Peters replied, “It is a valid question. It is part of our ongoing investigation.”

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Dec 6, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Serial purse snatcher who mugged 8 in Bronx neighborhood busted

Cops busted the serial purse snatcher who they say terrorized women in a Bronx neighborhood during a month-long robbery spree, police said Wednesday.

Germaine Butler, 36, was arrested at a family member’s house on Coney Island late Tuesday bringing his alleged campaign of violent muggings to an end, cops said.

Butler’s eight attacks spanned a roughly 10-block area in Norwood beginning Oct. 4 and became increasingly violent over the course of the month, according to authorities.

During three muggings, cops say Butler threw or pushed the victims to the ground, causing the women minor injuries.

Bronx serial mugger has robbed 8 women in month-long spree

Butler, who lives in Williamsbridge less than a mile away from the haunts of his heists, snatched thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry, and cellphones, including a ,300 score Oct. 21.

His last known robbery was Nov. 6, cops said.

Cops on Tuesday charged Butler— who has six prior arrests that include robbery, assault and drug charges — with five counts of robbery and three counts of grand larceny, police said.

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Dec 6, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx man admits strangling his teacher-girlfriend, love child

A Bronx man who strangled his ex-girlfriend and their 4-year-old son pleaded guilty in the killings Tuesday.

Isaac Duran Infante, 24, admitted murdering Felicia Barahona, 36, who was his science teacher at DeWitt Clinton High School, and little Miguel inside their W. 153rd St. apartment on Dec. 22, 2016.

Infante confessed to investigators that Barahona was “still gasping for air and fighting for life,” when she screamed for their son to call 911, according to a statement read by prosecutor Nicole Blumberg in Manhattan Supreme court.

Barahona started a sexual relationship with the student in 2011, when Infante was 18 years old.

Bronx man accused of killing his son whined about his messy look

Five years later, her former student used an electrical cord to end her life.

“The defendant wrapped the cord even tighter around her neck until he was sure that she was dead,” the prosecutor detailed.

Once Barahona was dead, Infante turned his sights on his own child, who he strangled and left “lying face-down in a bathtub filled with water,” Blumberg added.

In a deranged attempt to cover up the crime, Infante tried to convince police the killings were a murder-suicide.

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Dec 6, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Two Bronx babies nearly die from taking opioids

Two Bronx toddlers are hospitalized after they nearly died from taking opioids carelessly left out in the open, police said.

In the most severe case, a 1-year-old girl took a near-fatal sample of her heroin using dad’s stash — requiring three blasts of Narcan to revive the overdosing child, police said.

The wasted Edgardo Rodriguez, 20, confessed his drug use after investigators found white powder on the comforter of his bed and 1.7 grams of heroin in his pants last Saturday morning.

“I was using heroin in the bed before my kids laid down,” Rodriguez was quoted as telling police. “Some of it spilled on the bed. It made a mess.

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“I went to sleep. I don’t know how my daughter got in contact with the residue on the bed because I was high.”

His daughter, who had celebrated her first birthday just six days earlier, remained in critical condition Tuesday in the pediatric intensive care unit at the Montefiore Medical Center.

And it could have been worse: The doped-up dad also had his 2-year-old son Lebron in the bed with them.

The two small siblings were on the bed with Rodriguez shortly after midnight Saturday when he took the heroin and fell asleep. Rodriguez said he tried to hide what was left of the smack under his pillow.

Bronx teacher’s overdose death prompts Narcan push in schools

Rodriguez woke up around 5 a.m. because the little girl started crying, but instead of checking on her, he simply rolled over and went back to sleep, the court papers charged.

Rodriguez and his mother, Lisbeth Almodovar, later found the child struggling to breathe at around 8 a.m. The little girl was unresponsive when taken to the hospital an hour later.

Rodriguez, who lives in York, Pa., was charged with drug possession, reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. He was held on ,000 bail.

The 1-year-old girl was joined Tuesday at Montefiore by a another tiny overdose victim.

Homeless shelter staff will learn to use Narcan for overdoses

Doctors in the emergency room at St. Barnabas Hospital had saved the life of 18-month-old Alaiya Gonzalez early Monday morning with a double-shot of naloxone.

The girl’s panicked parents rushed her for help after she went into seizures in the middle of the night, according to police. She was transferred to Montefiore, where she remained hospitalized Tuesday.

Mom Samantha Gonzalez recounted how she and the baby’s father were walking with the girl through their Bronx neighborhood late Sunday night.

The child plucked a baggie off the ground — and stuck it in her mouth, the mother told police.

Walgreens pharmacies to sell opioid overdose medication Narcan

A white substance immediately began oozing from little Alaiya’s lips, with dad Mieses Balladoli wiping her face clean, cops said.

But the child suffered a seizure a short time later and was rushed to the hospital.

The NYPD and the city Administration for Children’s Services were both investigating the circumstances, and no arrests were made.

Alaiya was “doing very good, but I can’t discuss the case,” her 23-year-old mom told the Daily News. “There’s an open ACS case and they told me I couldn’t talk about it.”

SEE IT: Florida deputy revives overdose victim with Narcan

A police source indicated there was some skepticism over the tale of a toddler walking through a Bronx neighborhood with her parents shortly before midnight.

“ACS doesn’t believe their story,” the source said. “Nobody really believes it, but there’s nothing to indicate it didn’t happen that way.”

An ACS spokesman issued the same statement about both Bronx overdoses: “The safety and well-being of New York City’s children is our top priority. ACS and NYPD are actively investigating the situation.”

With Andy Mai

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Dec 5, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Bronx teacher’s overdose death prompts Narcan push in schools

Parents and elected officials renewed their push for anti-overdose kits in city schools after a teacher was found dead from an apparent overdose in a Bronx school.

A janitor discovered Bronx Public School X811 special education teacher Matthew Azimi in a locked school bathroom after class ended on Nov. 30.

A needle and narcotics were found nearby, police sources said, leaving the school community reeling.

Backers of anti-overdose kits, like City Councilman Rafael Salamanca Jr., said the tragedy proves schools must keep anti-opioid drugs on hand.

NYC teacher dies from apparent heroin overdose after last class

“It’s unfortunate that there isn’t broad agreement to stock as many public places as possible with life-saving naloxone,” said Salamanca (D-Bronx).

“Last week’s overdose in PS 811 in my community demonstrates it is needed there,” added Salamanca, who introduced a bill bring the kits with to all city schools in August.

Salamanca contacted reps for Mayor de Blasio to urge support for the bill.

Likewise, Staten Island Community Education Council president Mike Reilly emailed schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña on Dec. 1 in another push for the drugs.

Teacher found dead in NYC school bathroom from apparent overdose

“We can’t say that having naloxone on the scene would have changed the outcome of this incident, but in my opinion it certainly highlights that it is something that is needed,” Reilly wrote.

Reps for Fariña declined to comment on Reilly’s email.

A number of districts nationwide, including some upstate, already require schools to keep naloxone, the generic version of the brand-name drug Narcan.

When Salamanca unveiled his bill, de Blasio officials said anti-overdose kits weren’t needed.

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But de Blasio spokeswoman Olivia Lapeyrolerie said the administration would review Salamanca’s bill.

“The city is distributing 100,000 naloxone kits across the city, so that all first responders have access to this medication,” Lapeyrolerie said.

Azimi was 36 when he died. His neighbors in Carmel, Putnam County said he left behind a pregnant wife and three daughters.

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