Suspect sought for attempted sex assault of juvenile at North Philadelphia rec center

Friday, April 5, 2024
Suspect sought for attempted sex assault at North Philly rec center
Suspect sought for attempted sex assault of juvenile at North Philadelphia rec center

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police have released images of a man wanted for an attempted sexual assault at a North Philadelphia rec center.

Police say the victim is a juvenile.

The suspect is believed to be in his mid-30s, about 5' 10" tall with a thin build.

"It's cruel. It's actually sad," said Akil Tinto, who has a young son. "I hope that you can find the perpetrator and let him face the law because that is unacceptable."

Investigators say the victim initially encountered the suspect at the Red Fox corner store on the 2200 block of West Lehigh Avenue on the night of March 28.

The attempted assault then happened at the nearby Cecil B. Moore Rec Center.

"It's not safe," said one grandmother who lives in North Philadelphia. "Philadelphia is not like it used to be years ago."

Now, these parents fear for their own children who play at the rec center and throughout the neighborhood.

"My concerns are for any child and any parent - we don't want to go through something like that," said Tinto.

The city's Parks and Recreation spokesperson said in a statement:

"Parks and Rec understands the concerns parents and caretakers have for their children's safety following this attempted sexual assault. The incident took place outdoors while the facility was closed, no staff was on site, and no programming was taking place," the statement reads.

"The safety of children and families at our sites is our priority, and we are working with the Philadelphia Police Department on this matter," the statement continued.

Tinto wants to see more policing in the area.

"Something to that effect that can make the area feel more safe," she said. "We don't want to feel unsafe, especially with our children. They're the future leaders of tomorrow."

"Hopefully, the city will get back to the way it was," said the grandmother. "Let that respect come back. Let the safety come back."

Anyone who may recognize the man is asked to contact police at 215-686-TIPS (8477).