Queens sex predator suspect assaulted, terrorized previous victim before pleading to a no jail-time misdemeanor (Exclusive)

Queens sex predator suspect assaulted, terrorized previous victim before pleading to a no jail-time misdemeanor (Exclusive)

By Rebecca WhiteJanon FisherJohn Annese and Larry McShane

New York Daily News

Jan 21, 2023 at 5:47 pm

The arrest of accused Queens predator Andres Portilla for a series of brutal kidnappings and rapes dredged up terrifying nightmares for an earlier victim of his abuse.

The young woman told the Daily News in gruesome detail about her hellish weeks as Portilla’s girlfriend, recalling how she was beaten, isolated and forced to stay by his side after the pair met on Facebook in June 2021.

But when Portilla was finally arrested after a violent confrontation at her parents’ house, he was able to strike a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to plead out on a misdemeanor and avoid jail time.

“I was basically kidnapped by him the same way they were,” recalled the ex-girlfriend, who asked not to be named. “Unfortunately he was let free. He never went to jail for it.” Prosecutors said they were only told told about the events at the parents’ house, and that Portilla’s misdemeanor menacing conviction plea deal — that resulted in no jail time but included an order of protection barring him from contacting her — was discussed with the victim beforehand. He was initially charged with attempted assault, assaulting an officer, strangulation, menacing, harassment and resisting arrest.

Within two weeks of the Aug. 15, 2022 plea, Portilla had his next victim lined up — a 15-year-old girl he would eventually hold captive in his car, beat and rape, prosecutors say.

The ordeal

The 23-year-old former girlfriend told The News she recognized aspects of her own ordeal in the headline-making new allegations against Portilla, who was charged earlier this month with kidnapping, beating and raping a young woman and two 15-year-old girls, one for four months.

The couple was dating for a couple of months, with Portilla regularly picking the victim up at her family’s Queens home, before the 28-year-old man’s dark side emerged one August day after they went out for a meal.

“We were eating in the car and I said, ‘Do you mind taking me home?’ And he was like, ‘No, I want to spend more time with you. I don’t want you to leave,’” the victim recounted. “I said, ‘I want to go home. I’m tired. My parents are waiting for me.’”

She said she tried to leave the car but Portilla had parked next to a wall and she couldn’t open the passenger door.

“He started telling me, ‘If you leave, I’m going to kill you.’ And he started beating me up and I woke up in a hotel,” she said. “He told me that if I broke the window [to escape] he was going to kill me right there and then. And he beat me up until I couldn’t see. I really went through a lot.”

During the attack, the victim recalled, Portilla held her head down between the two front seats so no one could witness the beating. He took away her phone and moved her from hotel room to hotel room until they ran out of money, she said. They lived in his car at some points. She said he sexually assaulted her multiple times.

“He used to threaten me every day all the time ... He used to tell me, ‘If you use your phone I’m going to hit you so hard I’m gonna break your fingers,’” she said. “He used to tell me, ‘If you leave this car I’m going to kill you. I know where to throw you away. I know all these places. I can hide you somewhere nobody can find you. I know where you live. I can go kill your parents.’”

Portilla was so controlling that he accompanied her to the bathroom and the shower, she said. And he allegedly beat her with an assortment of items, from his fists to his phones to a metal bottle — only to batter her anew when her injuries healed.

“He used to make these little comments like, ‘You’re getting pretty again. I’ll hit you today. I’m feeling it,’” she said. “I hope these girls didn’t go through this. It was a 24/7 torment.”

After they ran out of cash she suggested he return to her family’s house, which has a room in the back with a separate entrance.

He was always present, kept her phone and forced her to act happy whenever she spoke to her family, she says.

“We gave them the back bedroom,” the victim’s father told The News. “In the meanwhile, our daughter changed. She never spoke to us. She is living over there but we don’t know nothing about her.”

The arrest

Her parents became worried and within a week of them moving in, the victim’s mother confronted her daughter.

“I say, ‘What happened? Why are you [not talking] with me? You no talk on the phone? And when I lower [her] mask she has, all here, all here — bruises,” the mother told The News, motioning to her face.

Her mom told her to text her if she ever wanted police to be called — and a few days later, on Oct. 20, 2021, the victim saw her chance.

“That day he got arrested he actually almost tried to kill me with scissors. He stabbed me on the neck,” the woman said. But then she had a moment to herself.

“He was sick that morning,” she explained. “It was the first time that he left me alone for five minutes.”

When Portilla went to the bathroom, she texted her mother and begged her to call the police. When cops arrived, the victim was ready to talk.

“I told the cops, ‘I need you to get him out of my house. He almost killed me. He had me kidnapped,’” the victim recalled. “He was refusing to be taken over so they had to use a Taser.”

The criminal complaint accuses Portilla of choking the woman, lunging at her with scissors and then fighting with officers who responded — slamming one of them into a wall with enough force to break the cop’s wrist.

“You know I can knock you out right now, right?” he threatened the woman, according to court papers.

Portilla was hospitalized for several days after his arrest. He filed a lawsuit against the NYPD last September, accusing cops of false arrest and assault and battery. The city Law Department filed a response denying his allegations.

No jail time

The woman said she told the cops who arrested Portilla that she had been held against her will and sexually assaulted during her time with him, but she concluded they didn’t seem interested.

“They told me that it was irrelevant due to it not happening that day,” she said.

The police have a different version. An NYPD source says the department “reviewed the documents and body-camera footage in regards to the arrest, and she didn’t make any statements in regard to this allegation.”

“The NYPD takes sexual assault and rape cases extremely seriously, and urges anyone who has been a victim to file a police report so we can perform a comprehensive investigation, and offer support and services to survivors,” a department spokesperson said.

Portilla was only charged in connection with the confrontation at the parents’ home, facing accusations of attempted assault, assaulting an officer, strangulation, menacing, harassment and resisting arrest. He was hospitalized after the bust and then released from custody with supervision following his arraignment.

The Queens District Attorney’s office said its prosecution of Portilla was based on information provided by the girlfriend, adding the victim never reported any sexual violence to the prosecutors involved with the case. Portilla pleaded guilty on Aug. 15, 2022 to a misdemeanor count of second-degree menacing and was granted a conditional discharge, meaning he did not need to serve time in jail so long as he met certain conditions.

“Working with the information provided by the victim and police, we were able to secure a conviction for a misdemeanor crime with a sentence of conditional discharge that required Portilla to abide by the terms of the full order of protection we obtained for the victim,” Frank Sobrino, a spokesman for the Queens District Attorney, said in a statement.

“The plea was discussed with the victim before it was offered and was consistent with her desire for Portilla to keep away from her.”

Portilla’s lawyer in that case, Marla Band, told The News that prosecutors spoke to the victim “and made a judgment call” on charges. His current defense attorney declined to comment. Neither responded to questions about the woman’s specific allegations against Portilla

More victims

Within two weeks of the plea deal, Portilla had lined up another victim.

Prosecutors and police now accuse Portilla of going on to terrorize three others, saying he coerced a 15-year-old girl into moving into his apartment on Sept. 1. The girl was reported missing in August from Wyandanch, L.I., police said.

“It is hard to put into words the brutality inflicted upon these poor girls,” Queens DA Melinda Katz said in a statement after Portilla was arrested this month.

The narrative of what happened to the 15-year-old is frighteningly similar to his ex-girlfriend’s allegations.

Portilla forced the girl into his car on Nov. 1, held her hostage while he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her in the vehicle until his Jan. 6 arrest, authorities said. At one point, he stabbed her in the leg — dragging the blade upward toward her hip — and hit her in the eye with a wrench, court papers say.

Portilla lured a second 15-year-old into his car on Dec. 16, with the original victim still inside, near 91st Place and Corona Ave. in Elmhurst, according to court papers. As soon as she got inside, the complaint says, Portilla told her: “You’re not getting out of the car.”

Portilla blindfolded his new victim, ordered her to remove her clothes and raped and assaulted her, the complaint says.

The third victim in the case encountered Portilla and the first 15-year-old victim early on Jan. 1, court papers say.

That victim, a 21-year-old woman, left a 7-Eleven on Queens Plaza South in Long Island City a few hours after midnight and was looking for to charge her cellphone when she met Portilla and the teenager in a 2008 red Honda Accord.

The two offered to charge the woman’s phone in the car — but once she got into the vehicle, Portilla locked the doors and sped off, according to prosecutors and cops. When the woman refused to have sex, Portilla beat her with a wrench and raped her, court papers charge.

Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn, ESQ, LMSW: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.

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