[Update below] A man who has been linked to two sexual assault charges in Zuccotti Park has been arrested. 26-year-old Tonye Iketubosin of Crown Heights allegedly raped an 18-year-old woman from Massachusetts early Saturday morning, and sexually assaulted a 17-year-old woman on October 25th. According to the Wall Street Journal, he has been charged with third-degree sexual abuse, and the DA's office states that charges related to the alleged rape are "pending."
The 18-year-old told police that following an argument with her tent-mate at around 6 a.m. on Saturday, she met Iketubosin and he offered to let her sleep in his tent, "saying he had to go work in the park's makeshift kitchen." After falling asleep, she woke up shortly after "to Iketubosin removing her pants…she told police she asked him to stop, but he didn't comply. Then he raped her."
Iketubosin allegedly helped the 17-year-old set up her tent last Thursday night, and early the next morning found him inside the tent. He allegedly "ignored her repeated requests to leave. Then he groped her until she pushed him away." Iketubosin reportedly told authorities that he had been staying at Zuccotti Park for more than a week and working in the kitchen.
Patrick Bruner, part of Occupy Wall Street's press team, couldn't comment on the incidents in question but told us, "We take security and safety very seriously at the park and have many dedicated working groups that are devoted to creating and maintaining a safe space in Liberty Square."
[UPDATE] Beau Sibbing, Wisconsin resident who has been working in the kitchen at Zuccotti Park for the past three weeks, tells us that Iketubosin was known as "Tonye Parks," and came to work in the kitchen around two weeks ago. "He was a genuinely nice guy...he came to get shit done," he said. Sibbing had heard rumors of the first assault on Friday, and said that Iketubosin "was adamant that it wasn't him."
After word had spread of the alleged assaults, Iketubosin was told not to come to kitchen meetings and to stay away from the park, "but he kept coming." Sibbing said that around 9 p.m. last night "a whole bunch of people came and made him leave the park. Then the NYPD picked him up. I wasn't sure if it was for his own safety or if he was being arrested."
[UPDATE 2] Billie Greenfield, who left her home on the Upper West Side three weeks ago to live in Zuccotti Park, tells us that she was part of the mediation team that handled the sexual assault claims against Iketubosin. "I think this is an isolated incident," Greenfield says. "I don't have any reason to believe that the victim would lie, and I don't want to believe that anyone would lie about this, but I still think that it's always important to hear both sides."
Another woman who has been at the park for the past three weeks from her home on Long Island and asked to be identified as Amanda F., says, "This is still New York. It's humanity; you're gonna find the good and the bad. I don't want to discourage people from coming down here, it's very rare that something like this would happen."
The NYPD confirmed with us that the victim who is accusing Iketubosin of rape is actually 18-years-old, not 17 as was first reported.
Additional reporting by James Thilman