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SUSPECT IN GANG RAPE ASKS FORGIVENESS IN CONFESSION

One of the five men charged with attacking a couple in a Queens park and gang-raping the woman showed remorse in a written confession Thursday.

"I write these words for a very big reason," says a signed confession that prosecutors said was made by Armando Juvenal. "I don't know your name, but I want to ask you to forgive me for the pain that I have caused you. . . . I too have a mother, and I have a sister and a daughter."

The five men, who lived in a shantytown near Shea Stadium, are charged with 18 counts of rape, sodomy, robbery and kidnapping in the Dec. 19 attack. They pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in State Supreme Court on Wednesday and are being held without bail.

The men allegedly surrounded the 42-year-old woman and her 38-year-old male companion, beat them, stole their money and jewelry, and then dragged the woman to a shack and sexually assaulted her for nearly three hours.

A police canine unit rescued the woman from her ordeal.

The defendants were identified as Juvenal, 20; Luis Carmona, 20; Victor Cruz, 22; Jose Hernandez, 18; and Carlos Rodriguez, 22.

Ex-wife of rail photographer
charged in sale of photos

WHITE PLAINS (AP) -- The ex-wife who was convicted of stealing 1,400 pictures taken by famed railroad photographer O. Winston Link was arrested again Thursday after some of his photos showed up for sale on eBay.

Conchita Mendoza Link, 67, of Gettysburg, Pa., and Edward Hayes, 63, who lived with her, were taken into custody in Millerton on charges of conspiracy to sell stolen property, said David Hebert, a spokesman for Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro. They allegedly tried to sell 30 stolen photographs to a Westchester resident.

The Brooklyn-born O. Winston Link, who lived in South Salem and died in 2001 at age 86, was best known for documenting the end of American steam railroading with dramatically lighted photographs of engines puffing smoke into the nighttime country air. Though his photos were taken in the 1950s, he did not find fame until the 1980s.

In a 1996 trial in White Plains, Conchita Link was convicted of grand larceny for stealing 1,400 of his classic prints, then worth $2 million. The prints were never recovered.

Officer charged in assault,
threat against his wife

GREENPORT (AP) -- A police sergeant was accused of assaulting and threatening to drown his wife, authorities said.

Sgt. Paul M. Robertson was suspended without pay, pending the results of an internal investigation, Greenport Police Commissioner Thomas Nolan told the Register-Star of Hudson.

Robertson, 43, and his 36-year-old wife had an argument over clothing left on a chair in the bedroom, the newspaper reported. In the middle of the quarrel, the wife left the room to give their 6-year-old daughter a bath.

Robertson allegedly followed his wife into the bathroom and grabbed her by the throat. Police reports stated he told her, "I could drown you right here and now."

The woman, whose throat and arms were bruised, tried to call 911, but her husband ripped the phone out of the wall, police said.

The next morning, Robertson was arrested.

Robertson was charged with third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Greenport is about 30 miles south of Albany.

3rd police official reassigned
over raid that killed woman

NEW YORK (AP) -- A senior police commander has become the third police official to be reassigned after a botched raid on a Harlem apartment that left a 57-year-old woman dead.

Assistant Chief Thomas Purtell, who oversees the department's Emergency Service Unit, was transferred to the Housing Bureau on Wednesday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Thursday.

Alberta Spruill went into cardiac arrest after the May 16 raid, during which officers detonated a flash grenade and handcuffed her. A police informant had wrongly identified her apartment as one used by a drug dealer to stash cocaine and heroin.

Purtell was not at the raid and was not directly involved in its supervision, but the officers who made the decision to use a flash grenade after breaking down the door were under his command.

Kelly declined to say whether there would be additional reassignments.

Earlier, the Emergency Service Unit lieutenant who supervised the entry into the apartment was reassigned to desk duty, and the commander of the precinct where the incident took place was transferred.

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