The man was charged with forcible touching and acting in a manner injurious to a child
A man dressed as Elmo was arrested in Times Square after he allegedly groped a teenage girl posing for a photo opp.
Inocente Andrade-Pacheco, 54, was arrested around 6:45 p.m. local time on Saturday, on Broadway near W. 46 St., and charged with forcible touching and acting in a manner injurious to a child, NYPD Det. Hubert Reyes confirms to PEOPLE.
The 14-year-old victim had approached the costumed character for a photo in the tourist hot spot when he allegedly grabbed her buttocks. She then told her family, and they subsequently called the police.
Andrade-Pacheco, who lives in Passaic, New Jersey, was released on his own recognizance at his arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court on Sunday, the New York Post reports.
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Prosecutors had reportedly asked for $7,500 in bail, claiming multiple witnesses had seen the assault unfold.
Through his legal aid attorney, who argued that he has “strong ties to his community” and no prior convictions, Andrade-Pacheco denied groping the girl, according to the Post.
Times Square Alliance President Timothy Tompkins, meanwhile, told the New York Daily News that similar instances — in which knock-off characters are accused of touching people in Times Square without consent — occur frequently.
“The police are doing what they can, but we think there’s a need for some additional regulations or legislation, and we know the City Council is working on that,” Tompkins said.
A woman dressed as Elmo, the beloved Sesame Street character, was previously arrested in Times Square in 2014 after becoming upset about a tip she receieved and charged with aggressive solicitation, according to the Post.