2007-05-18 / Community

NJ Inmate Arraigned On Rockaway Rape

An inmate in a New Jersey prison has been arraigned in Queens Supreme Court for the 1996 rape of a Far Rockaway woman nearby her home.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Curtis Clinkscales, 36, a Pennsylvania native who is presently serving a five-year sentence for drugs in a New Jersey prison, and who had been scheduled to appear soon before the parole board has been arraigned on charges "based on DNA evidence" of raping and sexually assaulting a 48-year-old woman in Far Rockaway in January 1996.

Brown said, "The defendant is alleged to have tried to keep his identity secret by wearing a ski mask and hat, but witness identification took a backseat to the DNA evidence that had been collected from the rape victim eleven years ago and stored all this time in a national database known as CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). Earlier this year, that profile was positively matched to the DNA sample the defendant had been required to provide when sentenced to prison in New Jersey on drug charges. This case underscores yet again the crucial importance of DNA evidence which is irrefutable proof of guilt or innocence."

Clinkscales appeared for arraignment before Acting Queens Supreme Court Justice James P. Griffin on Monday, May 13, on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse.

Brown said that, according to the charges, the victim was returning home from work at approximately 4:00 a.m. on January 10, 1996, and walking from the Far Rockaway train station when, two blocks from her home, the defendant came up behind her with his hands in his pockets and, in asking for money, demanded that she open her jacket so he could see for himself if she had anything.

Afraid, she did as he instructed and he allegedly began fondling her breasts and told her to 'be quiet and don't be stupid' and then to 'come with him and don't scream.' He is further alleged to have led her to a nearby parking lot and down a staircase where he forcibly sexually abused and raped her despite her pleas to take her money and leave her alone. Before fleeing, he allegedly told her to 'not call the cops, not to look back or scream.' The victim immediately went home to her husband and notified the police who took her to a local Queens hospital , where medical personnel prepared a sexual assault evidence kit, which included DNA evidence recovered from the victim.

The District Attorney said that the sexual assault evidence kit was tested as part of the City's Backlog Project which is an initiative that reopens sexual assault cases in which perpetrators have been identified using DNA from rape kits that are matched with convicted felony offender DNA profiles on file with New York and national DNA databanks.

Clinkscales, who faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, was ordered held without bail and to return to court on July 12, 2007.

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