Last summer, women across the Upper East Side were terrorized by the specter of a pint-sized man whom we dubbed The Upper East Side Groper—the last we heard of him, many of the victims had trouble picking him out of a lineup, bringing up the question of whether there actually were two gropers at large. But today, 18-year-old suspect Jose Perez Hernandez was convicted of sex abuse and burglary in at least three of the incidents.
Hernandez pled guilty to following a woman into her apartment on East 85th Street between 1st and York Avenue just after midnight on July 13, 2011; he reached under her skirt, grabbed her buttocks, and then knocked her to the ground. He pled guilty to following another woman into her building at East 78th Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue around 3:30 a.m. on July 17, 2011; when she confronted him by yelling, "What are you doing?" he fled before attacking her. He also pled guilty to "[rubbing] his erect penis against" another victim at approximately 6:50 p.m. on a subway near the East 68th Street station on August 3, 2011.
Hernandez was found guilty of the top charges against him—two counts of Burglary in the Second Degree, and one count of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree—and is due to be sentenced in early July. The 5-foot-1 Hernandez, who worked as a dishwasher at Antonucci Cafe on East 81st Street for the six months prior to his arrest, had been described as like a restaurant mascot by his former boss. It's still unclear whether Hernandez is responsible for the other gropings that occurred last summer.