The NYPD had a chance to arrest accused molester Steven Pappas in 2009—but blew it because they didn't believe the 12-year-old who said he'd been sexually assaulted by a man posing as a police officer. Until now. Yesterday, police arrested Pappas and accused him of raping a 15-year-old boy he tricked into his van last week by flashing a police badge.
Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but this one is a doozy. According to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, "What happened is when [the earlier victim] spoke to the Special Victims Unit when this happened in 2009, they weren't certain of his credibility. His mother sees this individual who was arrested—Pappas' picture—on television, finds out the circumstances were very similar to what her son reported. She calls the [police] hotline and that's how we got involved to investigate."
And the circumstances really were similar. In 2009 the 12-year-old victim toldalmost the exact same story, down to being approached at the same 53rd Street station by a man who flashed a cop badge and then who drove him to a parking lot and attacked him.
Still, Kelly says not to blame the police for not catching the convicted level 3 sex offender two years ago. Believing young victims is hard! And anyway, they caught the guy now!
"You have to judge credibility. It's a very sensitive area. the special people are trained in this, do it extremely well and in this instance it proves the young man—the boy—was correct," he said.
"But that's what happens in this business. There's a fair amount of recantation that takes place as far as the claims of sexual abuse. It's a sensitive, complex area. I think they do it well. I think the important thing is that this individual is under arrest."
Oh, also? Back in 1999 Pappas served five years in prison for another similar incident. Meanwhile, police are still working out how he got that badge. Previously it had been disclosed to be an active duty officer's badge, but now Kelly says it was actually "a duplicate badge that someone he knows gave him this month."