Kevin Guerrero, 20, of New Windsor, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of first-degree rape and one count of second-degree burglary.
Guerrero is accused of entering three different apartments in a building on South Chestnut Street; through an unlocked door in one case, an open window another time, and by pushing an air conditioning unit inside in the third case. Witnesses claim the suspect was incoherent, in one case telling a woman that he only wanted a place to sleep. Another woman, however, was forced to fend him off — that incident led to the rape charge.
Campus and town police officials are encouraging residents to secure doors and windows before going to sleep, and to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity. Officers from both departments have participated in the investigation.
“If they have a concern, they can call us,” said Lieutenant Robert Lucchesi of the town police. “If it’s, nothing, that’s okay with us. It makes people more at ease.”
Lucchesi would not provide much in the way of detail regarding what led to Guerrero’s arrest. “I can say that it was based upon physical evidence as well as video that contributed to identifying this individual and apprehending them, but I can’t specify what that evidence is,” he said.
Due to the high number of leads, no sketch of the suspect was ever released. Lucchesi said that it’s uncommon for the suspect in a sexual assault case to be completely unknown to his or her victims, but it does happen. Considering the details of how the suspect gained entry, the lieutenant is also urging residents to double-check how secure any window-mounted air conditioners are, particularly from the outside.
Three town police officers are certified to teach the rape aggression defense system, or RAD, and have done so in coordination with campus police in the past. Lucchesi was not aware of any such classes being offered in response to recent events.
Guerrero was sent directly to Ulster County Jail without bail by New Paltz town justice James Bacon after he was arrested at his place of employment. He is due back in court on Sept. 13 at 10:30 a.m. for a preliminary hearing. Additional charges may be filed, as the investigation is continuing.