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Woman beaten and raped in church by homeless man before being rescued by ‘hero’ priest

A 68-year-old woman was allegedly beaten and raped inside a New York City church by a homeless man before she was saved by a priest.

Craig Ellis, 55, had been arrested on 30 occasions since 1986 and attacked the unnamed woman inside the Hamilton Heights Church on January 30, 2019, according to a lawsuit filed against the church.

The lawsuit states Ellis was a known danger to the public and the wider community, claiming officials had failed to protect people from his crimes.

The NYPD say Ellis has 30 arrests on file, ranging from public lewdness, larceny, forcible touching to assaults. The church attack is his latest arrest.

The church and New York Archdiocese have so far declined to comment on the incident.

The 'hero' priest Rev. Gilberto Angel-Neri
The ‘hero’ priest Rev. Gilberto Angel-Neri

The lawsuit states that the elderly victim approached the church at night, noticing the doors were open but the lights were off.

She claims she was attacked by Ellis, who allegedly had flashed older women before.

The lawsuit states he covered her mouth, took her to the bathroom, locked the two of them inside and he proceeded to beat her with his fist and slam her against the wall.

He then tore her clothes off and raped her, the lawsuit claims.

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The attack ended when hero priest Reverend Gilberto Angel-Neri entered the church, as the victim screamed for help as the priest ran to the incident and Ellis fled, the lawsuit reports.

The man was arrested hours later and charged with assault, attempted sexual assault and larceny. He is in police custody and being held on $100,000 bail.

Ellis has also undergone several psychiatric evaluations, the New York Post reported.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website,

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