A Staten Island man accused of exposing himself to a Bay Ridge woman is out on only $1,000 bail, despite having an open case involving groping another woman in Midtown Manhattan.
The alleged perv, Ivan Prokopenko, 34, has a lengthy arrest record. However, his rap sheet didn’t stop him from walking out of Brooklyn Criminal Court in April without having to post a single dime in bail, reports DNAinfo’s Murray Weiss.
He was released just a day after he was caught in Bay Ridge and accused of terrorizing a 27-year-old woman who was out walking her dogs after midnight. He allegedly exposed himself then chased her to her home.
Brooklyn prosecutors asked for $5,000 bail, but Judge John Hecht, who was aware of the previous Manhattan case, released Prokopenko, requesting only that his lawyer get him into a counseling program by his next court appearance on June 12.
“I think it is crazy he is out,” the woman, a substitute special education teacher who asked for anonymity, told “On The Inside.” She said she no longer feels safe in her home and is now hunting for a new one.
“How could you let someone with this record just go and be on the street?” she continued. “What are you waiting for? For him to do something worse? To rape someone? To kill someone?”
A spokesman for the Office of Court Administration said he could understand her sentiment.
“People often are upset because they want bail to be used in ways it can’t be used,” he said, pointing out that the charges against Prokopenko were misdemeanors.
“For better or worse,” he added, ”bail can only be used to ensure that a defendant returns to court and it cannot be used for preventive retention or punishment.”
According to public records, Prokopenko had been arrested at least five times for a number of misdemeanors prior to his Manhattan arrest on March 14, at around 10 p.m. – reportedly his first arrest for sexual misconduct.
During the Midtown attack, the suspect allegedly grabbed a woman at the corner of West 45th Street and Fifth Avenue, putting his hands up her skirt, before she was able to break free and escape.
In the course of that incident, Prokopenko was also freed on $1,000 bail.
The Bay Ridge attack occurred just four weeks later.
According to law enforcement sources quoted by DNAinfo, the accused serial groper’s Bay Ridge victim was walking her two dogs when she saw the suspect running towards her.
Thinking he was possibly a jogger, at first she paid him no mind. But after he stopped a half block away, and she could make him out better, she realized he was not wearing jogging clothes. The victim then became increasingly nervous as he began to follow her.
Even after crossing the street twice, her assailant continued to stalk her, finally pulling down his pants to masturbate while standing close enough to the victim so that she could see what he was doing.
She finally ran home, after ringing a few door bells to alert neighbors to the trouble, where she immediately called her boyfriend, who is a New York City firefighter.
After telling her to call 911 and racing home, her boyfriend observed a man matching the suspect’s description in the building’s lobby. After calling his girlfriend, who identified Prokopenko, the police arrived and arrested him.
“The fact he knows where I live just creeps me out,” she continued. “That is the worst part.”
She and her boyfriend say they are looking for a new place.
“I just want to be somewhere I feel safe and not always looking over my shoulder,” she said. “I don’t want to live like that.”