NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - A homeless sex offender arrested for allegedly raping a woman inside a restroom stall at a Manhattan bar faced a judge Thursday.
Rodney Stover is accused of attacking the 23-year-old woman at a Kips Bay bar Saturday night.
He was taken into custody on Wednesday and faces rape, predatory sexual assault, criminal sex act and assault charges.
Homeless Sex Offender Accused Of Raping Woman In Kips Bay Bar Bathroom Pleads Not Guilty
At his arraignment Thursday, Stover looked one of his attorneys in the eye moments before pleading "not guilty" to the restroom rape of the woman inside the Turnmill Bar on East 27th Street, CBS2's Lou Young reported.
The woman was in the ladies' room, and when she opened the door to the toilet stall, Stover was waiting for her, police said.
He then pushed her back into the stall, grabbed her by the throat, threatened to kill her and raped and sodomized her, police said.
Police said they believe Stover did not target a specific victim, and was waiting in the restroom stall when the woman walked in.
The rape suspect's image was caught on security video.
The victim was rushed to North Shore-LIJ Lenox Hill Healthplex for treatment and evaluation, police said.
Stover, who has a rap sheet of at least two similar crimes and more than 20 years behind bars, asked for the benefit of the doubt through his public defender legal team, Young reported.
"Everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence," said defense lawyer Seth Gross. "The charges in this case, while serious, are only charges at this point."
Stover was jailed for a 1992 rape in Southampton while out on parole for another rape in Pennsylvania, Young reported.
He was convicted of rape, sodomy, aggravated sexual abuse, burglary and assault, according to state records.
Stover was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison in 1993. He served his full sentence and was repeatedly denied parole as a potential recidivist.
He was released in February.
Stover was arrested four days after the rape at the bar and was identified by the pub's owner who had been watching the security video over and over, Young reported.
The bar where the attack happened is only three blocks from the Bellevue Men's Shelter, where Stover lives.
The bar owner says he called police and followed him all the way to Seventh Avenue, where cops finally arrested him.
He told Young he doesn't feel like a hero and didn't want to be interviewed on camera because he can't undo what happened at the bar.
Others are saying the system should have anticipated something like this happening.
"Somebody dropped the ball big time, and it was New York," said Fordham Law School Professor James Cohen.
Cohen said Stover was a poster child for civil commitment -- a sex offender who should have been kept off the streets after serving his criminal sentence. The law has been in effect since 2007, Young reported.
"You can be kept for the rest of your life having not committed another criminal offense," said Cohen.
Stover has been denied bail.
If convicted, Stover faces a certainty of life behind bars, the DA said.
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