Sex offender accused of strangling 81-year-old neighbor in Brooklyn

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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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A level 3 sex offender was arrested for allegedly attacking an 81-year-old woman in her apartment Tuesday morning. CeFaan Kim spoke to the woman exclusively.

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A level 3 sex offender was arrested for allegedly attacking an 81-year-old woman in her apartment Tuesday morning.

Thomas Johnson, 50, strangled his neighbor unconscious at 3 a.m., police said.

She woke up to a noise in her living room in the middle of the night and found him in her apartment, police said.

Investigators say she knows who he is and he is an upstairs neighbor, although it's unclear how he got in.

She said she recognized him immediately and asked what he was doing there. He didn't say a word before the alleged attack.

She says he choked her while jamming his fingers down her throat so she couldn't scream.

She was treated for swelling to her face, bleeding to her nose and mouth and a dislocated jaw.

Her toe is also fractured and she hasn't been able to eat solid foods.

She is now terrified in her own home.

"He put my cheekbones out of place and when I got up I had no panties on," she said. "He knocked me out. I was out cold. I'm still spitting up blood. My eyes are red from the blood and everything. And when I tried to go back into the bedroom to make a phone call I didn't know he was still here. He attacked me a second time. And when he attacked me a second time again I was knocked out totally."

Johnson was arrested later in the day and charged with assault, causing injury to a victim 65 years or older, strangulation and burglary. He has a lengthy rap sheet.

"A registered level 3 sex offender, the highest level, he has nine prior arrests," said NYPD Chief of Detectives James Essig. "In August 2021 for strangulation, in August 2006 for sexually abusing a 5-year-old girl, he pled guilty and served one year, and that's why he was a registered sex offender. In March 2003 for assault, June 1995 for attempted murder, which he pled guilty for assault. Feb 1994 for grand larceny, he takes three other arrests in Jan., March and Sept. 1991 for grand larceny and assault."

Detectives say articles of clothing are missing from the victim's apartment. She said her car keys are also missing and she believes she was sexually assaulted.

Johnson is currently awaiting arraignment in Brooklyn criminal court. He has not been charged with sexual assault but police say more charges could be coming.

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