By Maria Rocha-Buschel
A homeless man was arrested for the attempted rape of a 23-year-old woman on a sidewalk just north of Union Square Park early Sunday morning.
The victim, who told police that she had been drinking earlier in the evening with a friend, said that she sat down at the northwest corner of Park Avenue South and East 17th Street and fell asleep on the sidewalk. When she woke up around 1:30 a.m., 39-year-old Nelis Calix was allegedly standing over her with his pants down.
There was a blanket covering her and she didn’t know where it came from, but her pants were also partially pulled down, she reported to police. A witness said that he heard her yelling, “no” and “help” multiple times while Calix reportedly lifted the blanket that was covering her. According to the District Attorney’s office, Calix went between the victim’s legs and attempted to rape her before bystanders intervened.
Other nearby witnesses called 911 to report the crime and Calix attempted to flee but he was arrested shortly after 1:45 a.m.
The victim was transported to Bellevue Hospital, where she was treated and released.
Police sources said that Calix has 18 prior arrests, including public lewdness, and he was arrested for sexual abuse in 2002 in the Bronx. Police said that Calix also frequently goes by different names. He is being held on Rikers Island for $50,000 bail and has a court appearance this Friday.
Calix’s lawyer did not respond to a request for comment.