- Last Updated: 5:43 AM, September 24, 2012
- Posted: 1:41 AM, September 24, 2012
The serial sex offender accused of viciously raping a woman in Hudson River Park over the weekend tried to hang himself yesterday — and his victim wondered what took him so long.
“He’s lived with himself doing this so long, it’s surprising that now it has become too much,” the 21-year-old aspiring actress told The Post of Jonathan Stewart’s suicide attempt in the lockup at Manhattan Criminal Court.
The woman — who bravely tried to fight off her attacker during the attack at 5:15 a.m. Saturday — was astounded that the creep was on the street despite being convicted of an earlier sex crime.
“Sickening!” she exclaimed. “I just found out [about the other attack] an hour ago. I can’t believe it.”
She said she’s trying to put the horrific ordeal behind her.
“I’m dealing with it. I’m OK. I’m lucky to be alive,’’ she said. “I’m in pain, but I’m trying to stay positive and keep my mind off of it. I’ve been sleeping a lot.”
She said she hopes that this time, the suspect will be locked up long enough that no one else will ever have to suffer what she went through.
“It was a nightmare. I hope no one ever has to go through this, and whoever this man is, I don’t want him to be able to do this to anyone else,” she said.
“It was terrifying. I thought it would never end.”
Stewart, 25, was rushed from the lockup at court, where he was to be arraigned on rape charges, to Bellevue Hospital after trying to hang himself at about 10:40 a.m., court sources told The Post.
“Everybody saw them dragging him out this morning with the distinct marks on his neck,” one source said.
Stewart had been paroled in July after serving seven years in state prison on a robbery and sex-abuse conviction from 2004. A police source said he sexually assaulted a young female relative.
He had been busted in a second sex assault and robbery that same month, although it’s unclear what the disposition of that case was. He also was arrested twice for larceny about a year earlier.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn yesterday blamed junk justice for Saturday’s assault, as well as for the rape of a 73-year-old bird watcher, allegedly by another convicted sex offender, in Central Park two weeks ago.
“We need judges to take sexual offenses more seriously. We cannot have violent sexual offenders see this type of crime as a revolving-door system,” Quinn fumed during a news conference at Hudson River Park
“Both offenders had previous sexual-violence offenses on their records. Judges need to use the full latitude that they have in these cases.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who joined Quinn, pointed out that there had been a nearly 36 percent increase in the number of sex attacks in the area covered by the Manhattan South Precinct, where Saturday’s rape occurred, so far this year compared with the same period in 2010.
Quinn also blasted the city for proposed NYPD budget cuts over the next two years, but a City Hall source said that no such reductions are planned.
Additional reporting by Sally Goldenberg and Jessica Simeone