Suspect in New York City attacks on Asian women accused of hate crimes

A man arrested in a series of attacks on seven Asian women in New York City last month has been charged with felony and misdemeanor hate crimes, prosecutors said Monday.

Steven Zajonc, 28, is charged with six counts of third-degree assault as a hate crime and seven counts of second-degree aggravated molestation, a misdemeanor, hate crime, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

Zajonc’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Zajonc, who was arrested by police on March 2, is accused on February 27 of a three-hour series of attacks on Asian women.

Police said Zajonc beat or otherwise injured his victims, who ranged in age from 19 to 57, without provocation.

“As claimed, over the course of just three hours, Steven Zajonc selectively assaulted seven Asian women in separate attacks, some of whom he struck from behind — for no other reason than their perceived race,” Bragg said in his statement.

Authorities said the first attack happened after 6 p.m. in the Midtown area, when the suspect approached a 57-year-old woman and slapped her in the face before running away.

Most of the victims suffered bruises and lacerations, Bragg said, and one was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital.

Zajonc was arrested while security officials at the New York Public Library were speaking out about a user who looked like a suspect in the attacks, according to police and a library spokesman.

The police had distributed security video images of a person wanted in connection with the attacks.

The officers were finally able to arrest the suspect, who barricaded himself in the library, NBC New York reported.

According to Monday’s statement, prosecutors have 27 open cases related to hate crimes against Asians. Suspect in New York City attacks on Asian women accused of hate crimes

Caroline Bleakley

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