A man dressed in an Elmo costume was arrested in Times Square over the weekend for allegedly groping the buttocks of a teenage girl.
Inocente Andrade-Pacheco, 54, was arrested Saturday and booked on a forcible touching charge, the New York City Police Department confirmed to NBC News.
The Passaic, New Jersey native is alleged to have been wearing the costume when he approached a 14-year-old girl who was taking pictures in a group, police said, according to the outlet. Andrade-Pacheco tried to take a photo with the teen, and when she opted not to, he then put his hand on her back before sliding it down and groping her buttocks, according to police.
A police spokesperson confirmed to Newsweek that the child was not physically hurt during the non-consensual encounter, commenting, “An individual dressed in an Elmo costume was arrested and charged after he placed his hands on 14-year-old female's back down to her buttocks and squeezed her buttocks without her consent. The victim was not injured as a result.”
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has also charged Andrade-Pacheco, who is said to have groped the girl in view of at least one witness, with endangering the welfare of a child, sexual abuse in the third degree, and harassment in the second degree, according to a criminal complaint obtained by NBC News.
Despite prosecutors requesting bail be set at $7,500, Andrade-Pacheco was released on his own recognizance Sunday evening, following his arraignment, the New York Post.reports. His attorney has reportedly denied that Andrade-Pacheco, a husband and father, touched the child inappropriately.
He was granted supervised release and is set to next appear in court on Sept. 26, a spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office confirmed to NBC News.
Amid complaints regarding the behavior of costumed characters — which include alleged groping and assault over tips — the city voted in 2016 to restrict their presence to a specific area, known as “activity zones,” within Times Square, The New York Times previously reported.
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