Tenants in the building where a pizza deliveryman allegedly raped a resident say managers fired the doorman as a scapegoat. Now, the doorman is worried about paying for care for his son, who is in an intensive care unit. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Police say Cesar Lucas raped a woman just after midnight Saturday morning.
The 16-year-old was delivering food for Sal's Pizzeria to a building on the Upper West Side. Investigators say he slipped into the open door of another apartment on the same floor and attacked a 35-year-old woman while her 7-year-old daughter slept nearby.
Luis Rodriguez was the doorman on duty that night.
"Being attacked in your own home with your daughter laying on the bed next to you, I think it's beyond comprehension how someone, an individual, could stoop that low," he said.
Rodriguez has worked there for 23 years. But now he's been suspended indefinitely without pay. He says that means he's fired.
"It's been very difficult," he said. "I'm on an emotional roller coaster."
The 64-year-old is emotional, in part, because he's staying in an intensive care unit with his 13-year-old son, who has pneumonia and a neuromuscular disorder that could be fatal.
"My benefits, my union benefits, I lose all that. Who's going to be paying for my son's care?" he said. "It's killing me to see how certain people turned their back on me for an incident that was not my fault."
Joanne Tombrakos lives in the building. She's obviously upset about the rape but also that management let Luis go, apparently because he didn't check when the delivery boy was upstairs for 20 minutes.
"All I can imagine is that someone wants to place blame on somebody," Tombrakos said. "I'm not sure what anyone would have been able to do in this situation."
Rodriguez said he couldn't leave his post. In July, the board cut back, laying off the overnight porter, who could have looked for the delivery boy.
"I was there by myself," he said. "What was I supposed to do?"
Rodriguez says he's grateful for the support he's getting from tenants but does not know what he's going to do.
"Economically and emotionally, I am a total wreck," he said.
Rodriguez is now hospitalized. His friends said he had a breakdown. His union, 32BJ, said it's going to fight to get his job back with back pay.
Halstead Management Company had no comment, nor did the president of the condo board, who hung up on NY1.