Actress’s cousin charged in Stuy Town rape attempt, plus two other cases

Juan Scott at his arraignment in Criminal Court on Tues., Oct. 21.   Photo by Jefferson Siegel
Juan Scott at his arraignment in Criminal Court on Tues., Oct. 21. Photo by Jefferson Siegel

BY LINCOLN ANDERSON | Updated Wed., Oct. 22, 8:30 p.m.: As first reported by The Villager in an online article Monday, a first cousin of actress Rosario Dawson was arrested for an attempted rape last week in Stuyvesant Town.

More information emerged at the man’s arraignment, as he was additionally charged in two previous East Village sexual-abuse incidents.

Police collared Juan Scott, 26, on Monday at his mother’s home in Sound Beach, Long Island.

Since this summer, Scott had been living at 544 E. 13th St., the East Village former squat building where Dawson grew up, and where her mother, Isabel Celeste, and father, Greg Dawson, and relatives still live. The “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” actress stays at the building whenever she is visiting back in town.

Scott reportedly had been living since the summer in a converted former bike-storage room in the basement that his father, Isabel’s brother, Nicky Scott — who is also a resident of the building — was renting to him.

A surveillance camera image of the suspect in the Oct. 17 Stuy Town attempted rape as the suspect, allegedly Juan Scott, moves in on the victim in the elevator.
A surveillance camera image of the suspect in the Oct. 17 Stuy Town attempted rape as the suspect, allegedly Juan Scott, moves in on the victim in the elevator.

Juan Scott was arraigned on his charges at Criminal Court in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon. His parents were seated in the courtroom.

Scott’s defense attorney’s request for $50,000 bail was denied by the judge, who remanded Scott to custody.

The incidents described in court point to an escalating pattern of increasingly violent sexual abuse dating back to this summer.

According to the authorities, at 4:23 a.m. last Friday, Scott followed a 20-year-old female Stuyvesant Town resident into the lobby of her non-doorman building and then into an elevator.

According to the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association blog, the building is on E. 14th St. between Avenues B and C.

As described in the criminal complaint, Scott pushed the woman to the ground in the elevator and placed his hands on her vagina. He then lifted up her skirt and put his fingers inside her vagina “forcefully.” He held her down on the ground, and continued to put his fingers inside her. The woman “attempted to get away from [him] multiple times, and [he] repeatedly held [her] down and pulled her back into the elevator,” the prosecution said.

“The male individual’s actions caused informant to sustain tearing to her labia,” according to the complaint, and “to sustain bruising to [her] face, and multiple burns and lacerations to [her] legs and feet.”

The victim yelled and struggled with the suspect, causing him to eventually flee the elevator.

A surveillance camera video released by police shows the suspect nonchalantly strolling into a Stuyvesant Town lobby through the entrance door — while carrying a small white plastic shopping bag — then getting into an elevator. Once inside the elevator car, he starts to chat with the victim (whose image has been purposefully obscured in the video), then starts very deliberately licking his fingers as he moves toward her.

The provided video clip doesn’t include the struggle that reportedly ensued, but skips ahead to when the suspect is seen rushing out the building’s front door — then acrobatically shimmying down a tree to reach street level and sprinting off down E. 14th St. westward toward Avenue B.

The prosecution stated that Scott looks like the man in the video.

In connection with the Oct. 17 incident, Scott was charged with first-degree attempted rape, second-degree aggravated sexual abuse and first-degree sexually motivated burglary.

As for the victim, the ST-PC tenants association’s site said, “The woman was badly injured and treated at Beth Israel Medical Center.”

Scott was also charged in an earlier sexual-abuse incident at an E. 13th St. building. To protect the victims, the addresses have been redacted from the criminal complaint provided by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The Daily News reported that the victim was a former girlfriend.

The prosecution said that on Sept. 21 at 1 a.m., at an E. 13th St. building, Scott pushed the woman down onto her bed and inserted his fingers into her vagina forcefully.

“The defendant then slammed the informant’s head against a wall and continued to insert his fingers inside of [her] vagina forcefully…[and] caused informant to sustain pain.”

Less than a month later, on Oct. 13, at around 12:31 p.m., Scott is accused of sending “over 38 text messages” to the victim, “stating that [he] is going to find her, that she needs to drop the charges against [him] and that he was going to kill himself if she did not drop the charges.”

The victim, the prosecution said, was caused to “fear for her physical safety and become annoyed and alarmed.”

Then, on Thurs., Oct. 16, at 11:20 p.m., again inside the same E. 13th St. building — and, in fact, just five hours before the Stuy Town attack — Scott is accused of knocking on the same woman’s apartment door. When she did not allow him inside, according to the complaint, Scott called her cell phone from an unknown phone number. Apparently either speaking to the woman on the phone or leaving a voice message, he again told her she “should drop the charges against him for sexual assault.” Again, the woman feared for her physical safety and became alarmed, according to the complaint.

In connection with these three incidents, Scott was charged with first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree aggravated harassment and fourth-degree stalking.

Scott is accused of yet another sexual-abuse incident earlier this summer. According to the prosecution, on June 2, at 11:45 p.m., he followed a woman into her apartment building on E. 11thSt. As the woman attempted to open her apartment door, Scott grabbed her and “ripped [her] dress up,” according to the complaint. “[He] then grabbed the informant’s vagina with [his] hand forcibly without [her] consent.”

He was charged with first-degree sexual abuse and first-degree sexually motivated burglary.

Speaking to The Villager on Wednesday, Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who lives on E. 11th St., said there was a sexual-assault incident on the street this summer.

“I think the poster about it is still up in my building,” she said.

Now, she said, she was wondering if this was the same incident Scott is charged in, and she planned to go home and check the poster.

Scott’s next court date is Fri., Oct. 24.

Told on Tuesday of all the charges against Scott, Annie Wilson, a longtime resident of 544 E. 13th St., said “I’m stunned to know that this dangerous person was living in the building. He appeared to be always polite, and I’m very troubled by these recent disclosures of his extremely violent criminal behavior.

“This very troubling news adds to the uncertainty regarding the day-to-day living in the building,” she said. “It just adds to it all.”

Speaking on Monday before the full scope of Scott’s alleged crimes had come out, Wilson did say, however, that he had “boundary issues. He pushes himself on women,” she said. But she said she was never aware of him getting physical with anyone in the building.

At least half the former East Village squat’s units are occupied by members of the Dawson family or other tenants allied with them. A rival tenant faction occupies the rest of 544 E. 13th St.’s units. Under a deal with the city in 2002, the squatters bought the tenement for $1, and were supposed to bring it up to city building code, after which they could buy their units at a low price. But 12 years later, little work has been done, and the city is now hashing out a new plan to maintain the building as affordable housing into the future.

Scott lived in the Loisaida tenement for eight or nine months about two years ago, before returning to his mother’s home on Long Island. He recently came back to 544 E. 13th St. and had been living there since this summer.

“The last conversation I had with Juan, he said he was paying his father $700 a month rent,” said a building resident speaking on condition of anonymity. “They put him in the bike room in the basement.

“He had a little scooter and he was working as a delivery boy,” the tenant said. “He was working for a restaurant, and he was happy scooting around.”

One day not long before the alleged Stuy Town attempted rape, the tenant spotted Scott with a woman in her 20s, possibly a girlfriend, walking down E. 13th St. on the sidewalk opposite from the building.

“She had on a stylish gym outfit — like a Kim Kardashian style,” the tenant recalled. “She had good makeup application — stylish.”

Rosario Dawson, due to her success, is a positive role model. Locally, the actress helps out the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Her mother is well known in the community and is also involved in charitable causes. Councilmember Mendez said she knows Celeste and likes her.

“Whatever he has done,” Mendez said of Scott, “you can’t impute that to Rosario, her mother, his father or anyone else. You can’t impute any bad actions to the building either. Rosario grew up there. As far as I know, Rosario is not involved in any of the building issues.”