A Hempstead man – dubbed the “alleged Backpage rapist” by prosecutors – is facing new sexual abuse charges after a fourth victim allegedly came forward to report he tried to rape her at knifepoint, a Nassau County prosecutor said Tuesday.
Ramone Smith, 23, appeared Tuesday before Nassau County Court Judge Angelo Delligatti and pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted rape, attempted sexual abuse, robbery, weapons possession and petit larceny. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered held without bail. Smith was already being held behind bars after being indicted on a series similar charges and felony predatory sexual assault, which relate to the three other victims. He has denied his involvement in all of the attacks.
In court Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney D. J. Rosenbaum said Smith contacted the 22-year-old woman through an advertisement she posted on Backpage.com. Once they were together at the Red Roof Inn in Westbury, he allegedly pulled out a knife, held it to her and then tried to rape her, the prosecutor said. Smith is alleged to have committed similar acts against three other women – who had all posted Backpage.com listings.
Smith’s defense lawyer, Edward Mandery, said the alleged victims were all prostitutes who “voluntarily went to meet with Mr. Smith to have sex with him.” He said that all of the women had fought with his client about being paid before they contacted the police to report the alleged sexual assaults. “They’re claiming they went to meet with my client to have sex, there’s some dispute where they didn’t get paid, and they’re claiming there was a rape.”
Smith’s prior charges – which are still pending – relate to incidents that occurred last August and September. Police say a 31-year-old woman was attacked with a razor and sexually assaulted on the roof of Smith’s apartment building in Hempstead. A 19-year-old woman reported to police that Smith allegedly tried to rape her in the building’s elevator after demanding her lingerie, but the woman was able to grab a hold of the razor and ran away when the elevator opened, cops said. The other victim, another 19-year-old woman, was sexually assaulted after Smith allegedly pulled out a box cutter on his roof, according to police.