Central Park, NYC.
Photo: Cindy Ord / Getty Images
Jeremy Soto, a worker for the NYC Parks Department, was arrested for allegedly exposing his body to a mother and a young child by urinating in the street and then lying in the middle of traffic on Broadway to fondle their private parts, according to witnesses and videos.
The 36-year-old uniformed duty worker told police: “I’m high with PCP ”(phencyclidine), after he was arrested for exposing himself in May in Fort Tryon Park in Inwood, according to a copy of the police report.
He was arrested again two days later for allegedly hug a woman from behind on a platform in the Bronx Subway, grab her breasts and kiss her neck, as the records show.
Why Soto was on the city’s payroll, let alone he was allowed to work inside the playgrounds, it’s a mystery, the New York Post questioned. Have 15 arrests on your criminal record sheet dating back to 2003, and in January he was charged and convicted of twice grabbing the butt of a woman who was walking near the same park, cops said.
“Why did they put him on a playground?” Asked a woman who witnessed the May 1 incident inside the park. “I teach my kids that if they get into trouble in a public place to look for someone in a uniform, the idea that they might have gone to him is horrible.”
The sordid events apparently unfolded on a quiet Saturday morning when about 15 people were enjoying an outdoor Zumba class at the playground Anne Loftus in Inwood.
As instructors led the class from the courtyard of a park building, Soto came out wearing a jacket that said “staff” and began to move to the beat. “I was dancing, gesturing to the music,” said the witness. “Everyone laughed a little. The teachers were nice about it. “
They retired Soto, but then he returned. “I noticed that she was concentrating on one of the teachers… I was looking at her in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. “added the witness. “He was walking behind her in a threatening manner.”
Soto was chased away again, but it didn’t go very far. He walked over to a nearby set of swings for babies and toddlers. “He took his penis out of his pants…. I saw him take it out and start swinging it and gesturing, wantonly. Rude gestures. Sexual gestures towards a mother and her small child on the swings ”.
He was calling the mother to try to get her attention, the witness claimed. Zumba class participants reached for their phones to call the police as Soto left the park.
A phone video captured him standing on Broadway, relieving himself before walking stiff-legged toward the striped median, laying down, and, with his left hand, playing with his exposed penis.
Eleven cars passed and a city bus slowed to take a look. The witness said that fellow Soto park workers arrived and they tried to convince him to get up shortly before the NYPD arrived.
Soto, who lives a few blocks south of the park, he was handcuffed by policemen and detained. A subpoena was issued. In his record he has accumulated a long list of crimes beginning in 2003. Pleaded guilty to 15 cases in 18 years, including possession of crack, but serving only a few days or weeks in jail.
Despite its long history, was hired by the city in 2016, in a job training program. He was then most recently hired as a seasonal maintenance worker in February 2021. Meghan Lalor, a spokeswoman for the Parks Department, said Soto was finally fired on May 1.
NYC parks worker exposes himself at playground while high on PCP: NYPD https://t.co/UfN0loPcwi pic.twitter.com/LJi1AZjX1Q
– New York Post (@nypost) July 10, 2021