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The Villager, Police Blotter, Volume 78, Number 26, November 26 - December 2, 2008

A man attempted to sexually assault an elderly woman on Norfolk St. behind P.S. 20 at about 4 a.m. on Thurs., Nov. 20, police said. The suspect fled when people who were on the street at the time heard the victim shout and came to investigate, said Deputy Inspector Frank Dwyer, commanding officer of the Seventh Precinct. The suspect was described only as a male Hispanic in his 20s, about 5 feet 4 inches or 5 feet 5 inches and weighing about 150 pounds.

Although some reports said the woman was Chinese and was collecting bottles and that the man had a small goatee, Dwyer said he couldn’t confirm the woman’s ethnicity or if the suspect had that sort of facial hair.

Dwyer said the incident was not part of a pattern or a trend. Police are asking anyone with information on the incident to phone the Police Department’s Special Victims Unit at 212-860-6857.

Clayton Patterson, a Lower East Side documentarian and gallery owner who lives on Essex St., a block away from the crime scene, has been working hard to bring attention to the incident and raise awareness of sexual assault and rape in the neighborhood. His efforts — including alerting Community Board 3 — ultimately resulted in police putting up posters on Norfolk St. on Sunday encouraging residents to report violent crime.

“You don’t always have to see the crime,” Patterson said. “You can see the person running from the scene and put the pieces together.”