Man arrested for grabbing, punching 11-year-old girl, NYPD says

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Images of a man accused of assaulting a girl, 11, and her friend, 15, in a Manhattan park on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, police say. (NYPD)

GRAMERCY PARK, Manhattan — A man accused of attacking a girl in a Manhattan park was arrested Saturday morning and faces a slew of charges, police said.

The girl was at Stuyvesant Square Park with her classmates, in the Gramercy Park neighborhood, around noon Wednesday when the unidentified man approached her and began to yell at the group, police said.

The man then sprayed water at the girl and proceeded to try to attack her, authorities said.

When the child attempted to fight back, the man grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the side of her face, according to police, who said the man also wrapped his hands around the girl’s neck and applied pressure.

The victim’s friend, a 15-year-old boy, tried to intervene when he saw her being assaulted, but the unknown man struck him, too, authorities said.

The girl was taken to an area hospital for treatment, while the boy suffered minor injuries and was treated on the scene by EMS, according to the NYPD.

The man was identified as Nathaniel Direnzo, 29, of Manhattan. He faces charges of strangulation, assault, harassment and acting in a manner injurious to a child.

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