09/23/2012 11:13 am ET Updated Sep 23, 2012

Hudson River Park Rape: Jonathan Stewart, Homeless Man, Arrested For Assaulting 21-Year-Old Woman

By William Gorta, Victoria Bekiempis

TRIBECA — A man was arrested Saturday after raping and assaulting a woman in the Hudson River Greenway, police said.

A 21-year-old woman was sitting on a bench in the park at Harrison Place and West Streets around 5:15 a.m. Saturday when a man sat next to her an attempted to engage her in conversation, police said.

When she rebuffed his advances he punched her in the face, attempted to strangle her and then dragged her into nearby bushes where he sexually assaulted her before fleeing, police said.

The victim notified a park police officer who broadcast a description of the assailant. Based on that description, NYPD officers arrested Jonathan Stewart, a 21-year-old homeless man, officials said.

The victim was taken to an area hospital in stable condition.

Stewart was charged with rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, assault and forcible touching, cops said.