Guilty Plea in Central Park Attacks

The first of the men charged in a series of sexual assaults on more than four dozen women in a daylight rampage in Central Park pleaded guilty today to first degree rioting.

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

Sexual abuse charges against Nunez were dropped in a plea deal with the Manhattan District Attorney that cited his good school performance and lack of a prior record. He faces a maximum of six months in jail and five years probation when he is formally sentenced on Dec. 4.

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

Admits To Pushing Only He admitted in his plea agreement to Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Bernard Fried that he was with a “large group on June 11 and threw water on the women and started pushing. I only pushed,” Nunez said through an interpreter.

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

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

The attacks, which were videotaped by witnesses and authorities, recalled the infamous 1989 “wilding” rape of a park jogger by teenage assailants.