National & Local News
Four Teens Charged in Rape at Brooklyn Playground

Four teenagers have been charged as adults with raping an 18-year-old woman on a Brooklyn playground last week, authorities announced Tuesday morning. Authorities said the teens—who they identified as Onandi Brown, 17, Ethan Phillip, 15, Shaquille Cooper, 15, and Denzel Murray, 14—are charged with rape by forcible compulsion, two counts each of criminal sex act and sex abuse. The woman told authorities that she had been drinking beer with her father in Osborn Playground in the Brownsville neighborhood when five teens came into the park and forced the father to the leave before taking turns sexually assaulting her, officials said. Authorities are investigating claims by two of the teens, who in separate interviews told authorities that the father and the daughter were having sex when they discovered them in the playground,

a law-enforcement official said. “They indicated that father is the one who put her in this compromised position and they took advantage,” the official said, adding that the suspects claim that as they walked into the playground, “One of them says ‘we’ll take it from here.’” The two suspects also told investigators that they believe their sex acts were consensual. No one answered the door at the father’s apartment Tuesday. The four teens remained in police custody at Brooklyn precincts Tuesday morning and were waiting to be transferred to Brooklyn Criminal Court for arraignment, officials said. It wasn't immediately clear if any of them had attorneys. The 17-year-old declined to speak with police, the official said. The three others were interviewed by investigators with the NYPD and the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. Police apprehended a fifth suspect, a 17-year-old male from Brooklyn, at his school Tuesday morning. The incident took place around 9 p.m. Thursday. The 39-year-old father and the woman told police they were at the playground drinking beer when the five teens approached and told the father to leave, the official said. The father told investigators that one teen had a handgun. Police haven't determined if a gun was used in the attack, but the father was the only person who mentioned seeing a gun in interviews, an official said.

The woman told police she and her father chose a spot near the handball courts “to be away from the police,” one official said. The woman had been estranged from her father and had only recently reconnected with him, a second official said. The father had lost custody of the woman at two years old, the official said. The woman had then been adopted at a young age and had grown up outside the city, the official said. The woman had come to live with father over the summer and had been staying with him and a woman who he was living with, who isn't her mother, the official said.

The father told investigators that after the men arrived, he ran away, returned and tried to chase them away, but was run out of the park a second time by three of the boys, the official said. He said he returned with two police officers that he had flagged down, officials said. Police determined that the man had stopped at a deli less than two blocks away to make a 911 call but was turned away, the official said. A deli worker who was behind the counter at the time told police that he turned the man away because he couldn't make out what the man was saying, the official said. The father initially ran past a marked police car, then circled back eventually making contact with officers who returned with him to the park to find the woman with signs consistent with a sexual assault, officials said. The victim told police that after her father departed, the teens took turns sexually assaulting her, the official said. The officers called for a supervisor and an ambulance, which responded and took the woman to a local hospital, police said. The victim and her father were initially uncooperative, an official said. Authorities are waiting on the results of DNA and toxicology tests, officials said. —Henrick Karoliszyn contributed to this article.

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