Jonathan Stewart, 25, a registered Level III sex offender released from prison last year, allegedly took a seat beside the woman in Hudson River Park around 5.15am before abruptly attacking her.
His victim told police he first tried starting a conversation with her then struck her in her face and attempted to strangle her, moments before dragging her into some nearby bushes.
‘This is a true victim,’ a police source told the New York Daily News. ‘She is a really good girl. She was just in the park, enjoying the scene.’
After breaking free and sending Stewart running, the young woman found a city parks police officer who notified other officers in the area.
Not long afterwards, NYPD officers recognized Stewart nearby.
The woman was taken to Beth Israel Hospital and reported to be in a stable condition.
Scene: The victim was sitting along Hudson River Park on Saturday morning, pictured, when she said Stewart took a seat beside her before violently striking and grabbing her
Dragged off: The victim told police she was pulled off the bench and into some surrounding bushes where the man raped her
The Daily News reports that Stewart was also sent to hospital after his arrest.
Stewart, who was homeless at the time of Saturday’s attack, was released from prison last year after serving seven years for robbing and sexually assaulting a woman in 2004. He had been on parole until July.