Queens church members afraid to attend Mass after woman's attack



A small group of congregants gathered outside their Queens house of worship Sunday to pray for a member who was sexually assaulted at gunpoint after she left a church service last week.


About 20 members of the Celestial Church of Christ joined hands as their pastor tried to allay the fears of his flock and lead them in a blessing for the victim and her assailants.


“Usually we have more than 200 members join us for Sunday Mass,” the pastor, Kehinde Oyetunde, told the Daily News. “People are afraid.”


The 50-year-old victim, a born-again Christian, was just a half-block from the Jamaica church around 11 p.m. on Tuesday when four assailants set upon her, placing a gun to her head, according to police.

Queens group home staffer led cops to 4 sex-assault suspects


After robbing her, the young men forced her to perform sex acts behind a parked garbage truck, the police said.

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Church members pray outside the Celestial church of Christ on Sunday.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)


Three of the four suspects in the Liberty Ave. attack have been arrested. Cops are looking for the fourth.


“We are very happy because of the arrests,” Oyetunde said. “We will pray for those kids. We will have justice.”


The victim, who recounted the brutal attack to The News last week, did not attend the Sunday service.

One suspect in churchgoer’s sex assault calls it ‘messed up’


“She’s scared. She’s not doing well,” Oyetunde said. “She needs help. She needs prayers.”

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Evangelist Kehinde Oyelade Pastor said Sunday Mass is usually more crowded, but members of the church are afraid to come out.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)


Dr. Matthew Ademola, a visiting pastor, gave a sermon during the outside prayer service, encouraging the few members who attended to remain strong and trust in God.


“Don’t worry about those who violated that woman,” he said. “They have been arrested. God will offer their punishment. Hold on to the cross. We are going to stick together. This is a moment of trial.”


Other congregants said they would feel more at ease if police increased patrols and the streets surrounding the church had better lighting.


“Regardless of what the devil has in mind, we will not stop coming,” said church member Corina Quow, 46, who has a 1-year-old. “I’m very skeptical now because I walk here with my son in the night. I’ve very scared.”

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A 50-year-old woman was sexually assaulted and robbed as she left the Queens church last week.

(Debbie Egan-Chin/New York Daily News)


Suspects Brandon Walker, 20; Julisses Ginel, 19; and Justin Williams, 17, were busted Thursday after a staffer at the Queens group home where they lived overheard them talking about the attack.


The victim told the Daily News that the suspects punched her and threatened to kill her.


“They said, ‘if you don’t do that, I’ll shoot you,’” she said. “So I did what I had to do.”


The church officials said they plan to start a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victim.


“We thank God that she wasn’t killed,” said Bosede Oyetunde, the church’s Mother Celestial. “At this time we are begging the public to come to our assistance. We need assistance for the lady involved and for the church.”

Tags:
new york sexual assaults
teen violence
jamaica
new york robberies
sex crimes
new york rapes

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