A suspect in the sexual assault of an Emergency Medical Technician Jan. 28 was released hours later, with a spokesperson for Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark saying he "was not arraigned because we deferred prosecution for further investigation."
The attack is being cited by the EMT's union as evidence of a troubling increase in assaults on its members. Its leaders called for city officials to take preventive steps.
Faked Coronary Got Her
According to the FDNY, the 32-year EMT was part of the response to a three-alarm fire in Soundview when she was attacked by a 52-year-old man who feigned a heart attack to get her guard down.
"We had a young EMT, female, who was flagged down, as we are very often, for somebody in need of help," wrote Emergency Medical Service Chief Lillian Bonsignore in a Facebook post. "As she approached this particular person, she was assaulted, inappropriately grabbed and held. It required the help of one of our coworkers to try to help her break out of that situation. It is disgusting and inappropriate."
Police arrested Aaron Cervantes-Mejia.
Oren Barzilay, the president of EMS Local 2507 of District Council 37, said the sexual assault underscored the need for improved training for his members to handle and, when possible, anticipate attacks.
"We know that assaults will happen," he said during a phone interview. "All we are saying is, if assaults are going to happen, how about training to give us some tools as to what to look out for?"
A Disturbing Trend
In a social-media post, Mr. Barzilay cited the shooting of a police officer in The Bronx the day before as further evidence of deteriorating street conditions that required an immediate city response.
"At what point will our city leaders take action to protect EMS and city workers?" he wrote on social media. "At what point will city and state legislators reverse their mistake on bail reform?"
At his Jan. 29 press briefing Mayor de Blasio took issue with the suggestion that the sexual assault and the shooting were signs of a more-dangerous city.
"But I agree that we have got to protect our public servants," he said. "They do so much for us. It's horrible, each of these situations you describe—horrible and unacceptable."
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