EDITORIAL: A job well done

Congratulations to local cops, who quickly scooped up thesuspect in last month’s horrific sodomy assault on a 15-year-oldboy.

Less than a week after the teen was attacked – allegedly lured outof the 53rd Street subway station by a man who flashed a badge athim and told him he was under arrest for littering, then taken to92nd Street and Dahlgren Place where the assault was allegedlyperpetrated – cops have in custody Steven Pappas, 50.

Local officers got onto Pappas as a suspect quickly. On December29, six days after the December 23 attack, they picked him up afterspotting him in Sunset Park, not far from where he allegedlyinitially encountered his victim.

For the arrest, credit the spot-on sketch produced by NYPD artist,P.O. Tara Thomas-Frontera, who drew on the victim’s description tocreate a portrait that was so lifelike – -down to a mole on thechin – that the 72nd Precinct’s Sergeant George Astras immediatelyrecognized him when he reviewed the precinct’s database of mugshots.

Cops immediately went out to look for Pappas, and quickly foundhim, whereupon a chase ensued that resulted in Pappas’arrest.

The whole way through, the NYPD’s team effort that resulted inPappas’ capture was superb.

What is troubling, however, is the fact that Pappas – who servedtime for a similar assault over a decade ago and is considered alevel 3 sex offender – was back out on the street, where he couldendanger other youngsters. And, in fact, since his arrest, anotheralleged victim has come forward, with a similar story.

It’s now time for New York lawmakers to stiffen the penalties forsuch assaults, to help protect some of the most vulnerable membersof our society from sexual predators. Two local legislators haveintroduced such legislation; we join with our neighbors in urgingthe Assembly and the State Senate to pass it quickly, and GovernorCuomo to sign it into law.

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