DISTRICT ATTORNEY VANCE ANNOUNCES GUILTY VERDICT IN HUGUES AKASSY TRIAL

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the conviction of HUGUES AKASSY, 43, on multiple charges against him in connection with stalking, harassing, and, in one case, sexually assaulting a woman on the Upper West Side between November 2007 and July 2010.

“The defendant refused to take no for an answer,” District Attorney Vance said. “He stalked these women obsessively and, when they refused his advances, he grew irate, harassing them over the phone, via e-mail, and in person. In one case, the jury found that his dangerous behavior escalated to rape, leaving his victim traumatized physically and emotionally. I would like to thank the jurors for their service and I commend the victims for bravely coming forward to seek justice.”

As proven at trial, AKASSY separately accosted four women in Manhattan from November 2007 to January 2010. In February 2009, AKASSY approached a victim on an Upper West Side street, and he later appeared at her apartment building uninvited on at least two occasions. The defendant screamed obscenities at the victim outside of her building for rejecting his advances and sent her an insulting e-mail.

In June 2009, AKASSY invited a second victim on a picnic in Riverside Park. Two days after the picnic, he appeared at her workplace uninvited, and when she stated that she was uncomfortable with his coming to her workplace, he sent her an e-mail in which he called her a “shallow” woman. In August 2009, he appeared at her workplace again and claimed that he had forgotten that she worked there. The victim stated in her testimony at trial that she only consented to go on another picnic with the defendant because she felt guilty about hurting his feelings. After the second picnic, the defendant insisted on walking the victim home. When they arrived at her apartment building, the defendant asked if he could use her bathroom, to which she replied that he would have to leave after using the bathroom. AKASSY grew angry, banging on the building door and ringing her buzzer for approximately twenty minutes. From October to December 2009, the defendant appeared frequently at her workplace and stared at her.

In late 2009, AKASSY approached a third victim at the art gallery that she directed on Central Park West. The defendant began to appear frequently at the gallery for shows and events. In January 2010, the defendant stole the keys to the gallery while the victim and some artists were preparing for a show. After returning the keys to the gallery, the defendant denied taking them. In February 2010, the victim saw the defendant hiding behind a pillar in the gallery and staring at her. The victim called the police to make a complaint, and later the gallery employees asked AKASSY not to return. AKASSY grew angry at the victim, repeatedly called her, and once approached the victim in a subway station to scream at her. At trial, he admitted to calling the victim more than two dozen times in one evening.

In July 2010, AKASSY invited a fourth victim, a tourist from Russia, to a picnic in Riverside Park. AKASSY led her to an isolated area of the park, where he threw her down and violently raped her. The victim escaped and walked to a group of men standing nearby in the park, who testified at trial that she was visibly shaken. The defendant, who had followed the victim, tried to convince the men not to call the police. The defendant hailed a cab and watched the victim from inside the cab, until police officers removed him from the vehicle and arrested him.

Assistant District Attorneys Jessica Troy and Emily Auletta prosecuted the case, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Martha Bashford, Chief of the Sex Crimes Unit. Trial Preparation Assistant Ivette Sanchez assisted with the case.

Defendant Information:

HUGUES AKASSY, D.O.B. 3/31/1968
Address Unknown

Convicted:

Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, one count
Stalking in the Third Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
Aggravated Harassment in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, three counts

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