Man dressed as Elmo accused of groping Times Square tourist

State News

Screens in Times Square are black during a widespread power outage, Saturday, July 13, 2019, in the Manhattan borough of New York. Authorities say a transformer fire caused a power outage in Manhattan and left businesses without electricity, elevators stuck and subway cars stalled. (AP Photo/Michael Owens)

NEW YORK (AP) — A man dressed as the children’s character Elmo has been charged with groping a 14-year-old girl who posed for a photo with him in Times Square.

The New York Post says the man, Inocente Andrade-Pacheco, has denied the allegations through his lawyer. The Post says the 54-year-old man from Passaic, New Jersey, been released without bail after his arraignment Sunday on charges including forcible touching.

Andrade-Pacheco was arrested Saturday evening. Authorities said he grabbed the girl’s buttocks.

The behavior of Times Square’s costumed characters became an issue several years ago, when police fielded scores of complaints about aggressive solicitations for tips, forced touching, assaults and grand larceny.

In response, the city passed a 2016 law restricting the street performers to designated areas on Times Square’s pedestrian plaza.

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