An ex-convict on lifetime parole in connection with the 1987 rape and murder of a 10-year-old girl in New York City now faces new charges for another sexual assault, despite being arrested last year.
Law enforcement sources told the New York Post that Charles Rowe, 56, was able to take advantage of New York’s “Less is More” Act — which allows parolees to avoid jail time — to commit additional crimes.
Despite facing a felony charge for allegedly stealing a car in December 2022, Rowe was released from custody. He is now accused of assaulting one woman and raping another, new court records show. Rowe was put behind bars earlier this month.
“Charles Rowe is the poster child for parole violation,” one law enforcement source told the New York Post. “He did time for one of the most heinous crimes I have seen in 40 years, and he robs a car less than a year after he’s released.”
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“Less is More” was signed into law by Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2021. It went into last year.
“Thanks to the governor’s ‘Less is More’ it is almost impossible to violate someone,” the source continued. “Lowering the standards is responsible for one woman fighting off this monster and another woman being raped in two horrific crimes where both women were threatened to be killed.”
Rowe was initially convicted of raping and killing a 10-year-old inside her bedroom in 1987. Her relatives found her body on Christmas morning at approximately 1 a.m., court documents show.
He was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison. But, after spending nearly 35 years behind bars, he was released with lifetime parole on January 19, 2022.
Rowe was supposed to be under close state parole supervision but, in December of that same year, he allegedly stole a van from a U-Haul storage facility. He was hit with felony grand larceny and other charges.
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The administrative law judge freed Rowe without bail, pending a preliminary hearing in his parole revocation case.
But Rowe failed to appear for his final hearing on January 12, and again after missing the rescheduled date of January 31, a DOCCS spokesperson told the New York Post. The hearing was rescheduled once more for March 17.
According to the report, Rowe also missed criminal court appearances on the pending stolen car case on March 15 and April 12, and warrants were issued for his arrest. He eventually returned to court.
Prosecutors allege Rowe committed a pair of assaults and additional crimes at the U-Haul facility.
On March 13, he allegedly raped a 69-year-old woman.
On April 25, he was returned to the U-Haul facility where he allegedly threatened and assaulted a 61-year-old woman.
According to court documents, Rowe returned the very next day and was caught on surveillance video burglarizing the business.
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Rowe was arrested and charged in connection with these crimes on May 13.
He was arraigned the following day with several charges, including first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, predatory sexual assault, first- and second-degree robbery, weapons possession, burglary and petty larceny, per court documents.
The judge in the case set bail at $250,000 in cash or a $750,000 bond, the DA’s office said Monday, according to the New York Post.
Rowe remains behind bars on Rikers Island pending a return court appearance on June 28.