The Summer Of The Groper has been filled with all sorts of colorful characters, such as the pint-sized Upper East Side groper and the bicycle-riding Astoria groper. But none sounded as strange as the Skateboarding Groper who was reportedly arrested on the Upper West Side near Columbia University on Thursday. Police finally confirmed that Thomas McDonnell, 22, was arrested in a dramatic takedown that afternoon, after being accused of groping four women.
McDonnell was charged with four counts of forcible touching, four counts of sexual abuse, and one count of resisting arrest. Between 1:30 p.m. and 2:10 p.m., four women complained to the police that a man “touched their private areas, their breasts, buttocks or vagina,” according to an officer who spoke with the Columbia Spectator. They also spoke to Khan, a man who works in Morningside Heights, who described the arrest, which occurred at the southwest corner of West 111th Street and Broadway with a crowd of 75 people watching.
Khan said that the "very muscular" 6-foot-1 McDonnell, who was shirtless and wearing a straw fedora, had been skateboarding up and down Broadway before the arrest: “They took him down. He tried to run but they tased him again and again and again." Even after he was tased two times, he kept getting back up: "Nobody would get electrocuted and get right back up. It looked like he was on drugs.” According to a University official, McDonnell, of Kingston, NY, is neither a Columbia student nor an employee. Pete Papaharalambous, a manager at Tom’s Restaurant, also witnessed the scene: “If he did it, he made a bad mistake. But if not, that’s awful.”
As for the Central Park groper who was arrested yesterday, police are still trying to determine if Eusebio Molina, who is 5-foot-2, is the same man as the groper wanted in a series of Upper East Side gropings stretching back to last January. Police told us yesterday that the detectives were expected to call in some of those victims to view lineups with Molina.