A woman mauled by a band of
hoodlums on a Central Park sex-attack spree said she clawed her way out
of the crowd as her frenzied attackers tore at her clothes and cheered,
"Go! Go! Go!"
"I bit, scratched, chewed and screamed," said Manhattan
resident Anne Peyton Bryant, who may have been the first victim in a
wave of assaults after the Puerto Rican Day parade.
"I've never felt so terrified in my life. I couldn't see
anything but the faces around me and the water. I couldn't even see the
sky above me," she told The Post.
Bryant, 29, said even worse than the attack was the response of cops
who ignored her after she reported the incident and warned them others
were in danger.
The terror unfolded just after 6 p.m., when Bryant was finishing her
daily loop around the park on rollerblades, accompanied by a male friend
on a bike.
She came upon a large crowd blocking the exit on Sixth Avenue, a
heavy smell of marijuana hanging in the air. A group of men closed in,
drenching her with beer and water.
"I still wasn't afraid. I figured it was a hot day and they were
just playing and having fun," she said.
She realized it wasn't a game when the men pulled her down. They also
attacked her friend, hitting him on the head and trying to steal his
"I thought they might have a knife or a gun," she said.
"I couldn't tell how many people were grabbing me."
Bryant - the marketing chief for a dot-com who moonlights as an
aerobics instructor - used all of her strength to fight the band off,
kicking with her rollerblades.
Curling into a fetal position, she was able to keep her shorts up
around the top of her thighs.
"They were all screaming, 'Go! Go! Go!' It was being
encouraged," said Bryant. "I think the whole crowd was
Finally, she heard a stranger emerge from the crowd and say:
"This is too much."
"He said, 'Hold on to me, baby,' and I did. He and another man
pulled me out of there."
She thanked the men and went in search of the police, but all of the
officers that she approached told Bryant - who was crying, soaking wet
and covered in dirt - there wasn't much they could do.
She said none of them radioed other cops on the parade detail about
the roaming thugs.
"Oh wow," one officer, in a scooter at the edge of the
park, told her when he heard her account.
Bryant said she approached another officer in front of the Plaza
"I was attacked. Something bad is going to happen over
there," she told him, motioning to the area where she was
assaulted. "It's out of control. They tried to pull my pants down.
You need to radio some officers to move into that area, it's out of
He suggested she talk to other cops sitting on the steps of FAO
Schwarz. She said those officers told her to bring her complaint to the
Central Park precinct, but she was afraid to go back into the park.
Instead, she said, she skated to the 17th Precinct, where an officer
told her: "You've been sexually assaulted. You should come back
tomorrow when you've calmed down."
NYPD spokeswoman Marilyn Mode said the department is investigating
police handling of the incident.
For Bryant - who came to New York from Virginia six years ago - the
police response was more disturbing than the assault.
"I wanted the police to do something, to go and make my city
safe. But they just stood there," she said.
"I will never be able to embrace New York the way I did before.
I love the park. I love parades. But it will never be the same."