Man accused in livery cab sex assaults arraigned

February 19, 2008 1:42:42 PM PST
A man accused of sex attacks on a stripper and another woman in a livery cab was held in $250,000 bail after being arraigned on rape and related charges.Torkieh Sadagheh, 28, of Brooklyn, attempted to rape one woman around 4:20 a.m. Sunday on the Upper West Side in the back of a Lincoln Town Car, said a complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court. The complaint says he succeeded in raping another woman in the car 40 minutes later in midtown Manhattan.

Assistant District Attorney Erin LaFarge said both women identified Sadagheh in separate lineups. She also said her office is investigating an open case against him, "similar" to these charges.

Defense lawyer Gary Greenberg said that while his client was from Syria, he has been here 15 years and is unlikely to try to flee. Judge Neil Ross set $250,000 bail and ordered Sadagheh to return to court Feb. 22. The defendant faces up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted on the first-degree rape charge, the most serious in the complaint.

One of the women, Monica Maneiro, 23, told police and reporters that she got into Sadagheh's car after her shift ended at a club on Manhattan's West Side, around 4:20 a.m. Sunday and told him to take her uptown.

"About five minutes away from my house, he jumped into the back seat and he tried to restrain me," Maneiro said. "He tried to force himself on top of me."

Maneiro said she opened the passenger door and "I sort of fell out," while Sadagheh fell onto the seat. She said she ran into the street, hailed a yellow cab and went to the police.

Maneiro, a dancer at Scores West for about two years under the stage name Suzzy, said she noticed after she escaped that Sadagheh's license plate did not have the letters that identify a car as a licensed livery cab. Greenberg, asked about the comment, said his client is a livery driver.

At 4:50 a.m., police said, Sadagheh returned to the club, picked up another 23-year-old woman and raped her in the back of his car after driving near her home. It was not known whether that woman also worked at the club. She was treated at a hospital.

In court Tuesday, Greenberg complained that Sadagheh had been abused by police and had to go to a hospital for wrist injuries caused by unnecessarily tight handcuffs. The lawyer also protested that Sadagheh had not eaten since he was arrested Sunday.

Greenberg said police had tried to trick Sadagheh into confessing by telling him that it was OK to rape one of the complainants because she "is just a hooker anyway."