A man allegedly entered an apartment on River Street that had its back door open and broke into a woman’s bedroom, restraining her by force.
Geraldo Abreu, 20-year-old, of Paterson, is charged with burglary and criminal restraint. Charges against him stem from an incident that occurred on August 23.
Police were called to the house on River Street between 5th and 6th Avenue on report of a home invasion and attempted sexual assault.
The victim told police she woke up at about 3:40 a.m. to find Abreu sitting on top of her in the dark bedroom. He allegedly put his hands over her mouth and nose in a rape attempt, she told the police. She began screaming for her brother, who lives down the hall. She managed to turn on the light and the suspect ran out of the bedroom. He got out of the house via the front door and fled south on River Street, said Passaic County assistant prosecutor Mariam Qudah during a court hearing on September 4.
Both the victim and her brother chased the suspect. When they went outside, Abreu, who lives in an upstairs apartment from the victim, was returning to the apartment without a shirt on. He went inside the apartment and came out wearing jeans and a red hoodie. Both the victim and the brother recognized the suspect as Abreu.
The woman immediately recognized Abreu as the “kid from upstairs” after turning on the light, said the assistant prosecutor. The victim has known Abreu for three years. Her brother has known him since Abreu was eight years old, said the assistant prosecutor. The brother has visited his apartment to collect rent. The victim has seen Abreu allegedly masturbating on the third-floor balcony twice. She told her brother about both incidents.
Detectives viewed surveillance footage that shows Abreu allegedly running outside and taking off his sweater. Surveillance footage matched the description of the suspect provided by the victim.
Abreu told police he did not do anything. He claimed he was outside to meet a girl. He also told police he usually took pills to calm himself, but those pills sometimes caused him to lose control and engage in conduct without being aware of his actions. He told police he took the pills at 10 p.m. at night and the effects last for eight hours.
Abreu told police he heard fighting and that the victim might be “dreaming,” said the assistant prosecutor.
“This is not an ordinary home invasion,” said Qudah. She said the victim told police her bedroom door was locked.
Abreu allegedly broke into the woman’s bedroom.
The victim left the backdoor of the apartment open because she was running an extension cord from the backyard into the apartment. She told her brother the back door would be open as a result.
“Ever since the incident she has had trouble sleeping, she is terrified,” said Qudah during the detention hearing. “She’s very scared.”
The victim had marks on her nose and her lips were blue after the incident.
Abreu “violated the sanctity of their home, and then by being on top of the victim, violated the sanctity of her body as well,” said the assistant prosecutor. “She is rightfully scared for her life and for her safety.”
“It’s clear that my client has some mental health issues that clearly contributed to the incident at hand,” said Abreu’s attorney Thomas Cataldo. “He has been getting treatment.”
Cataldo said the incident is an “aberration” because Abreu has no previous criminal convictions.
Abreu lived at the same apartment complex as the victim. He was living there with his mother and stepfather.
Cataldo said Abreu will not go back to that location if the judge released him from the Passaic County Jail. He said Abreu can reside with his father and stepmother at an apartment on Market Street between Rose and Seeley Street.
“It’s worth giving him one shot here,” said Cataldo, urging the judge to release Abreu.
Passaic County Superior Court judge Donna Gallucio was not convinced by Cataldo’s arguments.
Abreu suffers from hallucination and suicidal thoughts, pointed out the judge citing medical records. She said he has also indicated he uses marijuana, use of which has been linked to psychosis.
“The court is greatly concerned about the safety of this victim or any other person in the community,” said the judge. She said Abreu was twice hospitalized because of his illness.
Gallucio ordered Abreu detained at the jail.
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