Guilty Plea in Central Park Attacks

N E W   Y O R K, Oct. 17, 2000 -- The first of the men charged ina series of sexual assaults on more than four dozen women in adaylight rampage in Central Park pleaded guilty today tofirst degree rioting.

Manuel Nunez, 18, of the Bronx was one of 30 men arrested inconnection with the attacks on 53 women after the Puerto RicanDay parade in June. The women said they were doused with water,stripped and groped by the assailants. Two tourists from Franceand Britain were among the victims.

Sexual abuse charges against Nunez were dropped in a pleadeal with the Manhattan District Attorney that cited his goodschool performance and lack of a prior record. He faces amaximum of six months in jail and five years probation when heis formally sentenced on Dec. 4.

Nunez was ordered released from jail having servedtwo-thirds of the maximum term. As a condition of probation, hemust also do 250 hours of community service.

Admits To Pushing OnlyHe admitted in his plea agreement to Manhattan SupremeCourt Judge Bernard Fried that he was with a “large group onJune 11 and threw water on the women and started pushing. Ionly pushed,” Nunez said through an interpreter.

He also said he saw women’s shorts and halter tops pulleddown and that “they were all screaming … and terrified.”

The attacks occurred in a 35-minute period in the 840-acreCentral Park after the annual Puerto Rican Dayparade along Fifth Avenue attended by a million people.

The attacks, which were videotaped by witnesses andauthorities, recalled the infamous 1989 “wilding” rape of apark jogger by teenage assailants.