Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis held a conference Wednesday to call for an end to New York’s controversial bail reform law after an elderly woman was attacked in Bay Ridge.
The conference took place outside the apartment building on Marine Avenue and Ridge Boulevard where the attack took place.
According to authorities, on Thursday, Oct. 15 at around 9:30 a.m., the suspect, Mario Pope, allegedly attacked the woman inside the building’s laundry room. Pope was arrested later that day and charged with attempted rape, burglary, sex abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment.
According to the New York Daily News, Pope was arrested in April on assault and harassment charges in Harlem, but was released without bail at his arraignment. He is expected to appear in court for that case later this month.
The New York Post said Pope was also arrested for trespassing in Queens in 2018.
Malliotakis, the Republican congressional candidate in the 11th District, criticized local elected officials on bail reform, including her opponent, Democratic incumbent Max Rose. She was joined at the conference by businessman Vito Bruno, the Republican running for State Senate in the 22nd District against incumbent Democrat Andrew Gounardes.
“Those who represent this community have abdicated their responsibility by either supporting, by their voice, by their actions or their votes, radical policies that have put criminals before victims, and we aren’t going to accept that as a community,” Malliotakis said.
Malliotakis also referred to the attempted rape of a woman in the 95th Street subway station in February. A man taken into custody after that incident had been freed shortly before the bail reform law took effect on Jan. 1.
“Here we are today because an 85-year-old woman in this building was almost raped as well, by an individual who was released without bail,” she said. “In both of these cases, it was a direct result of the policies that my opponent, Max Rose, voiced support for when he was a candidate in 2018, and the opponents of my colleague supported as well.”
Bruno called Bay Ridge a great neighborhood but said it is no longer safe.
“Can you imagine an 85-year-old woman doing her laundry and the possibility of getting raped and sexually assaulted? This is absolutely unacceptable,” Bruno said. “This is why we are running. This election is about law and order. Public safety is the number one issue.”
Former prosecutor Michael Tannousis, the Republican running against Democrat Brandon Patterson to succeed Malliotakis in the 64th Assembly District, said he saw the writing on the wall once bail reform went into effect.
“Crime has risen, especially in this neighborhood,” Tannousis said. “This incident here would not have taken place had bail reform not been in place. This is the problem we are facing today. There is a radical progressive movement that has overtaken the New York State Legislature. They have compromised our public safety and quality of life.”
Retired Police Officer Bryan Tom, a lifelong Bay Ridge resident, said the spike in crime has him worried about his family.
“My parents are seniors as well, and they still reside in Bay Ridge,” he said. “I’m very concerned about their safety. Everyone that sees this has to tell our elected officials that the bail reform is a failure.”
Local resident Lorraine C. said the overall quality of life in the neighborhood has gone downhill.
“Scoping out the neighborhood today, I looked at that lamppost over there and you can see a little red sticker, and it looks really cute and retro,” she said. “To paraphrase, it says ‘We got this. We don’t need no cops.’ When I walk down that street, I have to see a man expose himself and urinate. A man between two cars and defecating, because ‘we don’t need no cops.’”