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Heroic Queens Man Chases Off Easter Sunday Sexual Assault Suspect

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A Queens man who heard a young woman screaming on Easter Sunday decided to take action. He chased away a man who was trying to rape her, police said.

Mike Novak scared off a would-be rapist, but said Monday he is no hero.

"No, I'm just doing what I think anybody should do. Some people might hide behind a shade, not me. Not the way I was raised. Not what I stand for," Novak told CBS 2's John Slattery.

Because of Novak, his street in Sunnyside is a bit safer. On Sunday morning at around 5:45, as his wife, a nurse, was about to leave for work, Novak, who was in bed, heard commotion outside.

"You could hear woman's voice, 'get away, get away.' Then, she started screaming, 'help,'" Novak said.

At first thinking it might be his wife, Novak said he ran out and saw a woman being attacked by a man in the bushes, scared him off and then chased him.

"Before I could get to him, the guy jumped up. I was in bare feet, unfortunately. I couldn't catch him," Novak said.

The victim told Novak she'd been walking from the train.

"He came up from behind her, grabbed her, threw her in bushes and was groping her and she was fighting back, and thank God I heard her," Novak said.

He said his wife, the nurse, calmed down the victim, who had been punched, suffering cuts to the head. Novak, who is 54, is a long time student of Kung Fu and said he was not afraid of chasing a groper.

"Thirty years of martial arts training, somebody needs help. It would not occur to me not to help somebody in need," Novak said.

The attacker is described as Hispanic, under 30, 5-foot-6 to 5-7, wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, baggy jeans and sneakers.

Novak said he didn't consider whether the assailant was armed. He just knew a woman needed help and his actions were immediate.

At this point, police have not made a connection between this attack and other recent gropings in nearby Jackson Heights.

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