2002-08-24 / Front Page

Assault Makes Korner Not So Kozy

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

When a 25-year-old Rockaway Beach woman went to the Kozy Korner on Beach 116 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard last Saturday night to pick up an item or two before they closed, she had no idea that she was about to become the victim of a sexual assault.

"I go in to the Kozy Korner all the time," the young woman, whose identity is being protected by The Wave because of the nature of the assault said, "I have been a customer for a long time."

When she reached the store just before midnight on Saturday, she noticed that the window gates were being pulled down by a man who was later identified by police as Abdula Shahbain, 40, of 1301 Redfern Avenue in Far Rockaway, one of the store’s workers.

"I asked him if I could just pick up some things before he closed, and he told me it was okay," the woman told The Wave in an exclusive interview.

She went into the store and got what she wanted. She noticed another man in the back of the store, but he paid her no mind.

"Then, the man who had been closing up the window gates came into the store and moved around me," she says. "I was waiting at the register and he touched my shoulder as he passed by. I started to feel nervous, with the two gates down. Suddenly, he put his hand on my breast and hugged me. He lifted up my breast and he kept his hand there."

The young woman said that the man at the back of the store said something in a foreign language to the man who was holding her and he responded.

"He was holding my breast and they were having a conversation," she says with a nervous laugh.

According to the woman, the man in the back saw what was going on, but did nothing to help her.

"I thought that they were going to lock the door and rape me," she remembers.

"He kissed my cheek and touched my hair. He was moaning," she says.

He began to walk around her, which gave her a chance to break away and run out the unlocked door.

She called police and officers Cruz and Rodriquez from the 100 Precinct arrived and arrested Shahbain.

The officers found a quantity of marijuana in his clothing.

He was arrested on charges of sexual abuse, harassment and possession of a controlled substance.

According to a spokesperson for Queens DA Richard Brown, he was arraigned on August 18 on charges of sexual abuse and forced touching."

"I used to go there every day," the woman says in disbelief of her ordeal. "I am totally shocked by what happened."

The young woman says that she came forward because she had heard of other stories involving the workers in the Kozy Korner and she wanted the readers of The Wave to know about the incident and to come forward if they suffered similar incidents at the hands of the store’s employees.

"It is important that people know what happens," she said. "It is important that people tell their own stories."

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