A serial pervert has been terrorizing a Brooklyn neighborhood by repeatedly exposing himself to kids — but keeps getting cut loose thanks to New York’s lax bail reform laws, The Post has learned.
Harry Zucker, a scraggly, white-haired 77-year-old with an apparent penchant for fondling himself in public in front of children, has exposed himself five times since April 27, according to court records.
But the creep keeps getting sprung because judges are largely barred from imposing bail on the misdemeanor charges, the filings show.
“Why is this guy still around? Get him in the system, get the trial, get it done,” Jacob, a concerned dad who works with the Midwood Block Association and didn’t want to share his last name, fumed to The Post on Wednesday. “They’re not taking it seriously. I have a daughter, she’s 9. I have a son, he’s 13.”
Zucker lives right next door to PS 199’s playground and is often spotted lounging on a dingy piece of lawn furniture, leering at the children with his penis out, according to court records and fed-up neighbors.
The problem got so bad that school administrators said they were forced to hang up green netting on the fence separating Zucker’s home from the schoolyard — but the flimsy screen wasn’t enough to keep him away.
Zucker lives right next to the playground at PS 199 and has been allegedly taking out his genitals in front of children.Gregory P. Mango
On June 24, Zucker was spotted masturbating while sitting on a bench inside of the schoolyard and “looking at children on the playground,” a horrified parent picking up their kid from school told police, according to a criminal complaint.
The next day, he was back at it on the lawn chair, facing the school and pleasuring himself while once again “looking at children on the playground,” court records say.
“The current legal system is completely failing us — just completely,” railed Jacob, who wants Zucker locked up for good. “This guy should not be allowed to be near kids … [he] has to go.”
Before the incidents in June, Zucker was twice arrested for masturbating in front of children three separate times — once in April and twice in May — but was freed both times because bail can no longer be imposed on the charges under the state’s controversial reform laws.
However, a recent change to the law restored some power to judges, allowing them to set bail if the defendant has an open case involving harm to another person. Because of that, Brooklyn prosecutors requested bail on Zucker’s misdemeanor public lewdness charge from the June incidents.
During that arraignment, prosecutors asked the judge to hold Zucker on a $10,000 cash, $20,000 insurance company bond or a $30,000 partially secured bond — but the jurist decided to remand him for a psychiatric evaluation.
It’s unclear if Thrive or any other mental-health groups have reached out in Zucker’s case.
Zucker had suggested he had a past history of sexual abuse and claimed he couldn’t “control” himself, court records show.
“I’m sorry I was sodomized by the black man,” Zucker claimed to the judge during the hearing, records show. “It affected my brain and my body. I can’t control what the black man did to me, I cannot control my brain, I cannot control the sexuality of my body, I am very sorry.”
Zucker’s Legal Aid Society lawyer asked for a review of the judge’s ruling, citing a technicality in the law that says psych tests can’t be ordered on non-bail eligible offenses — and the jurist was forced to send Zucker home a little over a week later, records show.
Zucker keeps returning to his home next to the school due to New York’s bail reform laws.Gregory P. Mango
Outside his home Wednesday, Zucker appeared agitated when asked about the allegations against him, telling a reporter he’d already done his “penance,” though not denying he fondled himself in front of kids.
“There’s a curtain between my alley and the school yard. I’m not visible to the children in the schoolyard … Nobody sees me!” he said.
“I haven’t done it in the alley where people can see me,” he shouted.
“I’ve done penance and penance more will do! Why are we opening old wounds and making them bleed again? There are no problems in the present!”
He’s due back in court Sept. 9. Zucker’s lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.
Zucker told The Post that there is a curtain shielding him from children and that “nobody sees me.”Gregory P. Mango
One local mom, who works with the Midwood neighborhood association, said she doesn’t want her daughter anywhere near PS 199.
“I went to that school as a child, and [my 4-year-old daughter] could go there for pre-kindergarten, but I can’t send her there. I don’t feel comfortable,” the mom, who declined to be named, said by phone.
“He hasn’t touched a child, right? He’s only touched himself. Are we waiting for that?” she continued. “Because if that’s what we’re waiting for, we’re sicker than he is, as a society.”