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Suspect identified and charged in connection with rape in Rittenhouse Square: officials

Police arrest and identify Rittenhouse rape suspect
Police arrest and identify Rittenhouse rape suspect 00:27

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Police say that the arrested suspect in connection with the rape in Rittenhouse Square is now charged with rape, robbery and related offenses. The suspect has been identified by police as 42-year-old Lorinzo M. Clark of Warren County.

Officers stopped Clark in the area of 1600 Chestnut Street. He was identified with the help of surveillance video.

The office of DA Larry Krasner said that Clark has an active warrant out of Erie County, Pennsylvania.

The DA's office also said Clark's bail has been set at $750,000 and a stay away order.

The DA's office said Clark encountered the woman on the sidewalk and then followed her into the park. He then forced the victim between the tents at the park and violently assaulted her, according to a release. 

The tents in Rittenhouse Square normally aren't there, but right now they're set up all throughout the park in preparation for the annual Fine Arts Show this weekend. 

Eyewitness News spoke with the Chairman of the Board for the Rittenhouse Square Final Art Show, Sandra Sedmak. 

"I was shocked. I was saddened. But mostly, I was really grateful that one of our excellent security team was on site and was able to help the unfortunate woman that was attacked," Sandra said. 

Officers tell Eyewitness News at least one security guard was in the square during the sexual assault, but they weren't patrolling the park. Instead, they were keeping watch over the tents lining the perimeter of the park ahead of the art show.

Officers tell CBS3 the rape happened in Rittenhouse Square around 1:45 a.m. on Friday between two tents at 18th and Walnut Streets.

A woman who was walking by witnessed the assault and intervened. Police said the witness said something to the man, and after that, he ran away. The witness stayed with the victim and called 911. Officers arrived about 15 minutes later.

"He then fled because of a witness who interrupted the sexual assault and said something out loud," Captain James Kearney said. "'Hey, what's going on there?' Which caused the assault to stop. The male then got up gathered his things and went northbound on 18th Street from Walnut Street." 

Officers took the woman to the special victims unit.

Neighbors tell CBS3 it's hard to fathom a rape in Rittenhouse Square, especially when police say there was a security guard in the park when the crime was committed.

Police: Man wanted for raping woman in Rittenhouse Square 02:16

"It's really scary," Rachael Goodman said. "I mean, this is a really safe, very wealthy neighborhood, so you just don't think that something like this would happen right outside your door."

Goodman has lived in Rittenhouse for the past seven years, and said the police presence is nearly nonexistent lately.

"There's no cops ever in this park," Goodman said. "Like day, night, weekend, there's no security. They have the little hut in the middle. There's no one ever in there. They need to have cops."

Goodman said she won't walk her dog late at night anymore and she worries about what will happen to her neighborhood if the crime rate continues to rise.

"I think the crime rate in Philly right now is astronomically high, so I think people think this area is the nice place to go," Goodman said. "You sit outside for dinner, you do the fine arts show, and they don't even feel safe here now."

Police did not release any image of the suspect yet.

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