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A Brooklyn man was arrested Saturday for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman just 10 days after he was released from Rikers Island over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus behind bars, according to a report.

Robert Pondexter, 57, was being held at the notorious New York City prison on a separate rape charge when he was released.

He was charged Saturday with attempted rape and sexual assault among other offenses, the New York Post reported, citing anonymous police sources.

NYPD responded to a 911 call at about 5:45 a.m. in Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood.


The caller told police a man had been walking across the street from a supportive housing development when he allegedly grabbed a 58-year-old woman whom he did not know by the collar and pulled her into a school parking lot.

The woman told officers he forced her to perform oral sex and demanded that she remove her pants before she was able to kick away from him. She was transported to a local hospital.

Details of the arrest were not immediately available.

Pondexter was released from Rikers Island on April 15 as part of the facility’s effort to improve social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Post reported. He had been held for allegedly raping a different woman who he used drugs with.

Fox News has reached out to the New York City Department of Corrections to confirm the report.

Two weeks ago, a convicted murderer who also had been released from Rikers Island over coronavirus concerns was back behind bars after allegedly trying to rob a bank in lower Manhattan on April 7, the Daily News reported.

James Little, 41, who was released on parole following his 1995 murder conviction, had been arrested on March 3 for allegedly beating and choking his girlfriend inside her Brooklyn home. He spent three weeks at Rikers Island before he was cleared for release on March 28 after his attorneys argued the jail was a hotbed for infection.

An inmate and a correction officer at Rikers Island both tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March, union officials and the state corrections department confirmed.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo later cleared the way for about 1,200 non-violent offenders who were being held for parole violations to be released from Rikers Island amid concerns about the spread of infection at the facility.

Since then, at least six staff members have died from coronavirus and more than 900 other employees have tested positive, the Queens Eagle reported.

At least 373 inmates have tested positive. The first inmate death was reported on April 5, according to The New York Times.


The jail population has been reduced by 1,669 inmates since March 16, with some 3,888 inmates remaining in custody at Rikers Island, according to a Board of Correction COVID-19 update published Thursday.

New York had 282,143 confirmed coronavirus cases and 22,009 deaths as of Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.