WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A Springfield, Massachusetts man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly breaking into an elderly woman’s West Haven apartment and raping her.
Police say that just before 7:30 p.m., officers responded to the Surfside Apartment building at 200 Oak Street for the report of a sexual assault.
Upon arrival, officers were met by an elderly resident who told them that a man had forcibly entered her apartment and then sexually assaulted her. The suspect was still in the apartment when officers arrived and they immediately took him into custody. He was identified as 27-year-old Giani Morales.
Some residents at Surfside Apartments tell News 8 they are scared for their safety and say the alleged sexual assault reinforces their demands for security.
Anne Marie Anderson, a resident, told us, “There are elderly people that have lived here for many many years and this is their home and it’s still their home and it’s not fair that they should live like this.”
Many say they feel their safety is being ignored.
Sharon Thigpen, a resident, said, “People pay their rent. They don’t pay their rent, they get evicted…There should be no such thing as anyone being raped or beaten in this building. There should be security 24 hours a day, every day.”
Other residents say this demand for more robust security detail has been a long-battled fight.
Richard Deso, a resident, said, “It’s sad. People are scared to come out. As a Navy Veteran, who is here to protect us, our state and our residents and my country and just for us to be here — we should be protected by HUD.”
The apartment complex is part of the Housing Authority in West Haven. Those who live there are either elderly or considered disabled.
News 8 reached out to the mayor of West Haven for comment and she sent us this statement: “This was a tragic, horrible assault. My prayers are with the victim. I have been in contact with John Counter, the Director of the Housing Authority, and have offered all of the City of West Haven resources.”
Residents are remaining hopeful that the Housing Authority will listen to their plea in hopes of avoiding another incident.
“I would hope that somebody would see this and see it’s a big problem and get us the security that would stay on top of this.”
We reached out to the Housing Authority for comment and have not heard back.
Morales was charged with burglary, home invasion, assault, assault on an elderly person, and sexual assault. He’s being held on $1,250,000 bond.
Police are still working to determine how Morales got into the building. The incident remains under investigation.