The attacker, 27-year-old Raleek Young, is serving a five-to-10-year sentence for raping a 13-year-old girl. The “hulking” prisoner, who weighs 290 pounds and stands nearly 6-feet tall, cornered the woman in a locked vestibule inside the Anna M. Kross Center Saturday, pulled down his pants and masturbated while choking her.
Responding officers, with the help of inmates, tore away the Plexiglas surrounding the “bubble-like watch post.” A slim prisoner was able to slid through the small crack and open the security door. That’s when the group of inmates descended on Young.
But despite the brutal and shocking attack, the incident wasn’t immediately labeled “sexual assault,” — a non-action that didn’t sit well with officers assigned to patrol the infamous prison.
On Sunday, officers at the facility refused to go to their posts at the start of the 3 p.m. shift, sources said. Correction Officers Benevolent Association President Norman Seabrook came to the jail and persuaded his members to go back to work after he promised to take up their cause, sources said.
The union president is furious Young wasn’t instantly rearrested and hit with added charges. He claims staff at the Bronx district attorney’s office insisted the matter would be handled after the weekend was over.
“There must be accountability,” Seabrook fumed Monday. “Officers are assaulted every day, and (Bronx DA Robert Johnson) has the audacity to say, ‘Not today, bring him back at another time.’ I will not tolerate it. I will not stand for it.”
Young was eventually arraigned. He now faces charges of attempted rape, sexual abuse, forcible touching, and assault and harassment.
This isn’t the first time this year the prison has been in the headlines. Just last week, Rikers Island was the scene of a huge brawl involving at least 14 inmates.
I started off this piece by saying that it was a strange twist. But, on the contrary, it reminds us that not everyone who is incarcerated is some sort of worthless animal. While vicious criminals like Raleek Young don't deserve to be "out in the world", there are many others who have become state property due to the necessity of survival. They did what they had to do to survival. That doesn't make it right. But it makes it real. It doesn't necessarily make them bad people. It just make them disadvantaged human beings who, in this case, still had enough morality to rescue this woman who just so happened to be a Corrections Officer.