Share story

NEW YORK (AP) — Congregation members are rallying around a woman who was robbed and sexually assaulted on the street after leaving a New York City church service.

Police had three men in their 20s in custody Thursday in connection with the late-night attack Tuesday in Queens. The suspects were picked up after matching images were pulled from video of the crime. Police also were looking for a fourth suspect and trying to determine whether a fifth was involved. No one has been charged yet.

“They should be prepared that God is going to lay a hand on them,” said Pastor Kehinde Oyetunde. “I’m sure of that. Nobody does evil and goes scot-free, especially when you lay your hand on a woman of Christ.”

The woman, 50, left the storefront church, which is in an industrial area, and was walking to a train.

Two men with a gun approached, then others. She was forced to disrobe and was sexually assaulted and robbed of her money, debit card and phone.

The victim ran back to her church for help.

“She was screaming, ‘I’m HIV positive, you can’t,'” a falsehood that prevented her from being raped, the pastor said.

“I called the cops right away,” Oyetunde said. “The cops came around, then they consoled her, then they said, ‘Take us to where this happened.'”

The victim was treated at a hospital.