SALEM (CBS) – Peter Kelly and a couple of his bouncers at Murphy’s Bar helped corral the fleeing suspect on the sidewalk just across the street — and kept the victim’s angry Dad from pummeling the guy.
“We told him to calm down,” said Kelly. “I told him the police would be here and they would handle it. And he was okay with that.”
Salem’s Essex Street pedestrian mall was pretty crowded with pre-Halloween visitors — including a 15-year-old girl from Northfield, New Hampshire strolling with her family.
WBZ-TV’s Ken MacLeod reports
That’s when the guy grabbed her between the legs and squeezed, prompting her to scream hysterically and tumble to the pavement.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Rod Fritz reports.
The perp ran but the teen’s Dad gave chase – zig-zagging through the crowd and shouting for help — until some Good Samaritans tackled the guy a couple of blocks away and held him.
“He wanted to leave,” said Kelly, “but he wasn’t struggling or anything like that. So he just stayed there.”
Police said the groper is 18-year-old Yousef Hashem, who works for a food contractor at the traveling carnival nearby.
Salem detectives declined to release his picture, because they’re showing it to the victims of three other virtually identical gropings — which all took place after the carnival arrived in town 10 days ago.
In one of those cases, the victim also had her pants pulled down.
Of course, this is Salem’s hottest tourist time of the year, and the gropings prompted many visitors to shake their heads.
“Quite honestly it’s pathetic,” lamented one man. “I can’t believe someone did something like that for a cheap thrill.”
“It’s definitely very, very sick,” added a woman. “If it was my daughter I’d want to kill the man myself.”
Apparently, the mother of Saturday’s young victim got up in the suspect’s face before police arrived.
“He was denying everything,” Peter Kelly recalls, because the mom was there yelling ‘Is this what you do!? Assault young girls!?’ And he was denying it.”
Those denials continued after his arrest.
The police report indicates that Hashem waived his Miranda rights, and told police he only bumped into the girl because he tripped.
But he couldn’t explain why he then tried to run.
The suspect description in each of the four incidents is quite similar — a 20-ish man with a stocky build, and dark curly hair, possibly Hispanic — who assaults his victim’s and then vanishes into the crowd.
Hashem will be arraigned tomorrow in Salem District Court on charges of indecent assault and battery, and disturbing the peace.