A 21-year-old Bronx man was arrested last Friday in connection with the rape of a St. John’s University freshman.
Rodney Syndor, who is not a student at St. John’s, is being charged with third-degree rape, according to a complaint filed with the Queens District Attorney’s office.
Syndor is accused of raping a University student early Thursday, Sept. 29, while she slept. Syndor is believed to have gained entry to the DaSilva Hall dorm room along with at least one other man who had been invited back by the victim, according to a University press release.
He was arraigned on Saturday in front of Judge Robert Raciti, according to the D.A.’s office. Attempts at learning Syndor’s plea were unsuccessful. Bail was set at $10,000 and Syndor is due back in court Oct. 14. According to spokesperson Kevin Ryan at the Queens D.A.’s office, Syndor will be represented by defense attorney Glenda Callendar of Queens.
According to the complaint, the victim returned to her dorm after a night out with a group of friends. It was not clear from the report whether or not the group had been drinking. The press release stated that the assailant entered the dorm along with an invited male friend of the victim having apparently gained entry into the building through other students who had recognized them and allowed them to enter. Allowing unescorted visitors into a dorm building without being signed in is in violation of residence hall policies and procedures, which prohibits entry by non-residents after midnight on Sunday through Thursday and after 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
At approximately 3:45 a.m., according to the University, the male assailant entered the victim’s bedroom. She had fallen asleep and awoke to find the alleged assailant on top of her, forcing her into a sexual act. The victim said “No,” according to the complaint filed with the Queens D.A., but the male continued to engage in the act until others, who had responded to the victim’s screams, entered the room. At that time, the alleged assailant fled the scene, according to the University release.
The victim was later taken to a local hospital where she was treated and subsequently released.
“Any time there’s an incident such as this, I would be deeply concerned,” said University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington. “We want to ensure something like this never happens again. We just have to work hard together, in a partnership, to keep this a safe campus.”
Prior to this incident, the last reported rape on the Queens campus had been in Oct. 1991. Keith Howie, 21, of Elmhurst, was charged with raping a 17-year-old freshman student in a stairwell in Alumni Hall (now Carnesecca Arena) after a trip to a basketball game got out of hand. Police said the two had known each other for approximately three weeks.
Howie was convicted of rape in the first degree, two counts of sexual abuse in the first degree and unlawful imprisonment in the second degree.