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Marisa Cortright, BC ’13, Assaulted in Riverside Park, Now In Stable Condition

Photo via NYPost of Cortright and the "person of interest" in the case

Yesterday CU Public Safety sent out a security alert that a “University affiliate” had been assaulted at 5:30 AM on Monday morning, during a jog in Riverside Park around 120th Street. Public Safety has not responded to Bwog’s inquiry about the specifics of the incident, but today we learned more from the NY Post.

Marisa Cortright, a rising BC sophomore from Oregon, was “grabbed from behind, punched in the face and had her head slammed into a wall” by her attacker, who also stole her iPod. The NYPD is searching for a “6-foot-2 heavyset blackman in his mid-40’s” who was seen exiting the park after the attack.

Cortright was found slumped and unconscious on a bench by tennis players entering the park, who called 911. Cortright is in stable condition at St. Luke’s and “doesn’t remember anything,” according to a policeman. She is an RA at Barnard this summer. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery for Marisa, and anyone with information about the incident should contact CU Public Safety at 212-854-5555 and the NYPD —either call 1-800-577-TIPS, visit the website, or text “TIP577” (plus your message) to “CRIMES” (274637).

Update, 7/9: According to City Room, another woman was attacked on 98th Street about twenty minutes after Cortright was attacked. The second victim described her attacker as a slim man in his 20’s, while the “person of interest” in Cortright’s case was said to be heavy-set, in his mid-40’s. No word yet on any correlation between attacks.

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  • hey says:

    @hey as sorry as i feel for this young woman, running in riverside at 5:30AM with your iPod drowning out the sounds of your surroundings is not smart. i suspect that had she ran without it, she would have heard he guy coming (and he would have no reason to attack her).

    1. well says:

      @well common decency would say even with an ipod he should have no reason to attack her, but i understand what you mean. summer is too hot to run later in the day, but that doesn’t make it a good idea to run alone in the park that early. even if you do this all the time, as many students do, that doesn’t make it safe. and adding an mp3 player into the equation, thus eliminating a lot of your awareness of your surroundings, is even worse. still, this sounds like i’m blaming the victim, which i don’t mean to do. she seems like a very sweet, smart girl, and it is horrible that another human being could have hurt her like this.

    2. really says:

      @really This is not by any means her fault !!!! a person has a right to feel and be safe in her own neighborhood. It is completely and only her attacker’s fault!!!!!!

      1. WHAT says:

        @WHAT you’re stupid. noone said it was her fault, just unintelligent.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous fuck off. this girl just got fucking attacked. she is a smart young woman and this man had NO right to do this whatsoever. so if you’re saying she made mistake, is unintelligent.. FUCK OFF.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous “mistake,” “poor judgment,” whatever you wanna call it…i’m a 250 pound puerto rican dude from the bronx and i don’t go through any parks at nighttime without my boys. this girl literally looks 14. but i guess it might hurt people’s feelings if we used this to warn others not to be alone with an iPod in an NYC park.

          2. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous in that case, you’d be telling most of the posters on this thread to FUCK OFF…get a life and a decent job

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous it’s incredibly naive to think that. i’m a native new yorker. i often feel comfortable wherever i may be (i also hail from a neighborhood considered marginally unsafe by most standards) but c’mon, please be smart. if you are a young woman alone in an isolated area at an odd hour with an ipod, you’re a target. no one should ever blame a victim of any crime, but you should know your surroundings and not think that you’re completely safe anywhere at any time. this indeed is a rare occurrence, but that does not mean that it doesn’t happen.

        i am glad marisa is on the mend, and i hope she makes a full recovery.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous lol u got trolled

      3. yes as much as i agree says:

        @yes as much as i agree u gotta consider the fact that the neighbor”HOOD” is rite next to both schools. The ghetto is very close so honestly even though not all Harlem is bad some ppl r just fucked up so that has to be considered into the fact that Riverside is well never safe

    3. early runner says:

      @early runner The sun is up at 5:30am during the summer so it’s not that absurd.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous that’s an idiotic comment. i run that early all the time in riverside, so do many people usually without problem

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’m glad you mentioned usually, because the girl got OWNED this time around

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous hahaha very valid point

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous love how owned is in caps

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous I love how this post is still active

        2. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous this thread is closing in on 70 comments

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I play Russian roulette with 100 duds and 1 bullet. Usually turns out alright too but then othe

  • B says:

    @B It’s ridiculous of instead of wishing the poor girl a speedy recovery some commentators are criticizing the victim or laughing at her situation. Commentators 1 and 3 should ponder the meaning of empathy while making copies at their summer internships.

    Marisa, I hope that you get well soon. I am glad that your injuries were not more serious and that people found you when they did. Many people are praying for you.

    1. hey says:

      @hey i did state that i felt sorry for the tragic event, but was simply pointing out that it was avoidable, and perhaps joggers in the future can learn from it. there’s nothing wrong in admitting your mistakes and pointing out mistakes others make so people can learn from them. your attitude reminds me of this:

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I have never understood why people run in the park rather than up and down Broadway/Amsterdam, where there are always others around.

    1. If that's the case says:

      @If that's the case then you clearly have no idea what running is about. I can think of several reasons why people choose not to run down broadway, or amsterdam, but once I started typing them I realized that there was no point bothering trying to explain them to you.
      Instead, I will just suggest that you go practice frogger in real life.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous No but really, you’re right I’m not a runner, but I would like to know. Since running in the park is just so much more dangerous, what are the reasons for doing it? I see people running on Amsterdam in the early morning/late at night all the time- what separates them from the park runners?

        1. helpful, non-cynical runner says:

          @helpful, non-cynical runner there are actually many reasons not to run down broadway and amsterdam. but here are a few.
          1. its really bad for your legs to run on concrete (softer surfaces such as asphalt or packed earth are much much better and won’t cause as many overuse injuries such as shin splints)
          2. its frustrating to start and stop. you cant get into a rhythm which messes up your breathing.
          3. its probably potentially more dangerous honestly in that you could easily get hit by a car (saw that happen to someone outside of the SE corner of morningside park on their way to central park and it terrified me)
          i mean it depends on your reasons for running, but i find that usually for me it involves some sort of meditation or escape more so than purely for exercise. and you wont find that as easily on a busy street (or on a treadmill)

          1. Not says:

            @Not to sound like a total douche, but don’t people in Riverside run on the paved portion, not the grass? So wouldn’t that be the same as running on Broadway (minus all the stops, which I can definitely imagine would be annoying).

          2. Wait says:

            @Wait sorry, just saw that you said concrete, not asphalt.

  • ... says:

    @... ohh look at me, i’m so street saavy. now that i’ve spent my first nine months in new york city^H^H^H^H morningside heights, i have the street smarts to know not to run in the yuppie park on the west side in the morning with headphones. this girl got beat down because she was stupid.

    hey commenters 1 and 2: go fuck yourselves. nobody cares what you think of yourselves. the poor girl was assaulted.

    1. Zomg: says:

      @Zomg: Dude, you’re kind of an ass.

      1. ... says:

        @... if being annoyed by a first comment that “astutely” points out that she was somehow “not smart” and that her perfectly reasonable behavior was somehow what caused this to happen makes me an ass… then well, bray bray…

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous WHAT?? are you kidding me right now?? i know that it’s somewhat inevitable that bwog comments will always devolve into the bc vs cc bullshit, but this is about an innocent girl getting brutally attacked, something that could have happened to any of us. lets all just STFU and wish this girl a speedy recovery and pray that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous your boss called and told you to get back to making copies.

        1. hey anonymous says:

          @hey anonymous go fuck yourself. one, i know marisa and i wish her a speedy recovery. two, i’m a barnard girl and i have a paying job this summer. so shut up and go get a life.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous paying jobs have a pretty broad range… a minimum wage job is also considered a paying job. you wanna be a little more specific?

            And what does being from barnard have to do with having a paying job? Are you implying that other barnard girls have jobs that don’t pay?

          2. cc13 says:

            @cc13 get the fuck over yourself, there’s no shame in minimum wage. also, if you’re shitting on barnard in any way you need to find a more healthy way to deal with your insecurities.

          3. hey anonymous says:

            @hey anonymous sure, let me just describe everything to you in a bwog comment. actually, i think the whole point of this is to tell you to shut up and to pay a little respect to the person who is injured and in the hospital because of some cowardly jackass who attacked her just for an ipod.

          4. novel idea says:

            @novel idea stop engaging him!

  • wtf says:

    @wtf You guys are retarded. I run in Riverside Park, so do lots of people; most of the people who are shocked at this are probably not runners. This sort of thing is a relatively rare event and really shouldn’t be acceptable in New York City.

  • CC'10 says:

    @CC'10 So I suppose this girl skipped her RA training that would have taught her to promote personal and communal safety to her residents. I mean, didn’t we all get the “don’t be alone in the park” lecture back in those NSOP days. Practice what you preach.

    This type of assault/situation has happened numerous times throughout my college days and just with the same amount of disparaging comments. The only real difference is that now Bwog provided a picture of the pretty little victim, and so people are more inclined to defend her mistake (I won’t say stupidity).

    1. like says:

      @like I like how you think

      1. Question says:

        @Question Why does this anonymous douche keep commenting? Dude, we can track your comments. Get a life, close bwog, put down your laptop, and stop bringing down others in an attempt to pull yourself up. seriously. Get better, Marisa.

        1. banker says:

          @banker Everyone is so upset in this forum just because one poster is obviously trolling on everyone’s comments

  • riverside runner says:

    @riverside runner I’m so sorry this happened. A word of advise to Riverside runners that are concerned, if you’re running that early alone, walk to 96th street and then go down to the park, there are more people (and it’s a much more picturesque and enjoyable stretch of park).

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Or run downtown in Riverside. The boat basin is one of the nicest places to run in the city. Or run in Central Park: it’s more of a hike to get there, but absolutely worth it.

      It’s completely horrifying that this happened.

  • CC13 says:

    @CC13 call me naive, but these comments make me wonder-when did we all get so detached from our humanity that the unprovoked assault of a member of our community would elicit anything other than sympathy and concern? even if you think using an ipod was irresponsible, the punishment for a mistake shouldn’t be violent assault. how would you feel if each of your mistakes was punished to the nth degree imaginable? no one should be assaulted, period, and this kind of attack scars people for life.

    stop hiding behind your computers, working out your own insecurities by being sanctimonious assholes and making a show of your “street smarts”. this is one of those times when if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

    and for the record, i am neither a runner, a barnard student, nor a friend of the victim. that being said, marisa, i hope you feel better soon!

    1. bc13 says:

      @bc13 i agree in full. stop analyzing what happened and just accept that a member of our community has been seriously injury and send only good thoughts and prayers her way.

      our thoughts are with you, marisa!

      1. bc13 says:

        @bc13 *injured

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Marisa is not an RA at Barnard this summer. She is a Columbia Pre-College program RA.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It sucks that this happened. I used to run the RP a lot, but never that early.

    Still, remember, this is New York City. F*cked up people run around here, it is true. Be smart about what and how you do things and this should not happen to you.

  • CC'13 says:

    @CC'13 That is horrible. I hope she feels like the Columbia community supports her.

    I don’t think that she needs to be told what she did wrong. She needs to feel like there is a larger group of people out there who care about each other. I wish we could be better at helping each other.

  • BC'13 says:

    @BC'13 She was in my gym class this past year. I don’t know her personally but she was always such a sweet girl with a smile on her face! I hope she gets better soon! My best wishes for full recovery!

  • CC Student says:

    @CC Student Get better soon Marisa! I’m so sorry this happened to you and I hope everyone else here can forget arguing and just wish you a speedy recover.

  • Elephant in the room says:

    @Elephant in the room Did anyone else notice that the attacker was listed as a “blackman?” What’s that?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I don’t think that people are trying to laugh at her situation—they are just pointing out that you should be careful, is all. In any case, I think the real point here is that this guy is a disgusting, horrible person for attacking an innocent person for an IPod.

    I am so, so, SOOO glad that she is recovering, and this incident has served as a huge lesson for me in terms of being out at certain times by myself. Sometimes it really does take incidents like this for me to realize the importance of safety.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous That said, I do understand the point that some people above were making that you should feel comfortable in your neighborhood. It is unfortunate that we have to feel like we can’t go out at certain times for this reason. :(

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I don’t think that the comments assessing how risky this girl’s actions were are being unsympathetic. Whenever something like this happens, it’s an issue for the whole community. Inevitably, everyone thinks, “Could this happen to ME?” Discussing risk factors is important to make sure that things like this don’t happen again.

    One way to prevent random attacks is to engage in safer behavior. A better way, I think, would be to simply execute violent attackers upon conviction. But that’s not going to happen, so we have to stick with the first option.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Execution is a little harsh. Maybe he stole her iPod to buy food for his family. Not making excuses for assault because there aren’t any, but it’s difficult and irresponsible to make value judgments on other people’s right to live.

      That being said, this is not Marisa’s fault and I wish her a full and speedy recovery

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous Value judgements? You don’t need to make a “value judgement” to think that assault in inexcusable. When it comes assault, whatever your “reasons” are for committing it is inessential; the fact of the matter is that you’re BEATING A YOUNG GIRL FOR AN IPOD. I don’t think that’s reasonable in any context.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Notice I said the exact same thing in my comment. I said that there is no excuse for assault, my comment was directed at the flippant mention of the death penalty by the previous commenter.

        2. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous I agree. Who the hell throws a girl against a wall for an iPod? You need to feed your family? Get a god damn job, what did Marisa have to do with that?! No sympathy for someone who attacks an innocent girl and leaves her there lying unconscious. Seriously, I can’t believe that that was even suggested.

          1. Anonymous says:

            @Anonymous Yeah, cause it’s really easy to get jobs right now.

          2. telling says:

            @telling indeed

            the higher levels of unemployment clearly mean we should crack each other’s heads open and feast on the goo inside

  • B says:

    @B I encourage everyone reading this thread to click “Track” next to the mean spirited comments. That shows that there is just one asshole on this thread and makes us look much better as a concerned community.

    Get well soon Marisa!

  • god says:

    @god I am really sick of these comments. She was the victim. That’s it. Plain and simple. Have some sympathy.

  • Best Wishes says:

    @Best Wishes First off, I wish Marisa a speedy recovery and I am very sorry this happened to her. She, by no means, deserved this.

    However, I don’t feel that this horrible incident can be taken as a freak occurrence. The fact remains that the park is unsafe when you’re running alone that early. The victim, in this case Marisa, did not deserve what happened, but everyone who sees this should now know that the risk of running alone in the park during off-hours is too risky, especially this far uptown. The people talking about the risk associated with running in the park that early are not being unsympathetic; we just want to make sure things like this don’t happen.

    Get well soon, Marisa.

  • UWS resident says:

    @UWS resident Bleeding on the brain is a TBI or traumatic brain injury. The only thing for certain after this type of incident is that your life will never be the same as it was. I feel sorry for females who are incapable of defending themselves in this brutal, rotten city.

    1. Ugh says:

      @Ugh You’re what’s making this town brutal and rotten. If you were ever assaulted I think you would understand that it has less to do with being a helpless female than with being too surprised to react.

      1. uhhhhh says:

        @uhhhhh doesn’t not being able to defend yourself come from being too surprised to react…

  • Oregonian says:

    @Oregonian Update from the local newspaper:

    I’m glad she’s doing well and ready to get back to NYC!

  • SEAS says:

    @SEAS The whole Columbia community is wishing for a speedy recovery. Get better soon, Marisa!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I think it’s a typo and they meant to say lack man. It is a rather unfortunate mistake, though. :/

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Oops. I was replying to the “blackman” thing. Don’t know what happened. Anyway, best wishes to you, Marisa!! I’m thinking of you and hoping for your speedy recovery.

  • SEAS'10 says:

    @SEAS'10 here’s what really needs to happen, girls (and boys) running at hours when streets are empty should carry pepper spray. The cops should know by now that the parks are often bad for assault, and secretly put cameras in places where crimes have most occurred, with the sole purpose of catching muggings and assaults, no worrying about any small misdemeanors like urinating at night. This way our college students are protected, and the motherfuckers will be identified.

    Also when word spreads in the hood that the chicks are carrying pepper spray and the cameras are out, potential assaulters and muggers will get the fuck out. Most of these crimes are opportunistic, and will be all but eradicated when the risk of getting caught is too high.

    We can all argue that it’s bad to run alone at 530am, but what a poor reflection of new york, the greatest city in the world, a little innovation and investment in fighting crime should be the norm.

  • SEAS'10 says:

    @SEAS'10 also after reading a little about Marisa, I totally want to ask her out, seems really cool :p

  • Trolls says:

    @Trolls Sometimes I really wish the internet wasn’t invented… anonymity really obliterates any vestige of humanity one would express in an otherwise normal, face-to-face conversation. I never hear this abhorrent garbage in real-life situations outside of these miserable forums. It’s really beyond despicable that anyone would ever comment that the blame rests on her for her blatant negligence for “running in the park with an iPod.” Because clearly, no blame rests on the deranged, sociopathic low-life who smashed a girl’s head against a brick wall until she fell unconscious and suffered internal bleeding in her brain! Why don’t you could go track down a rape victim and blame her/him too? Yeah, I bet you also think it was little Timmy’s fault for taking up the offer of yummy lollipops and candy from the nice man in the van. Point is, if you want to spew bile, stop hiding behind a computer screen you spineless beasts and let Marisa know to her face. Frankly, you guys are on par with the brutality of the mentally-unstable vagrant who assaulted this girl in the first place to harbor these beliefs… Now I’m not condoning running at an unusual hour of the day in a park near Harlem but jesus people, you’re taking COMPLETELY the wrong angle. And honestly, whoever tied in the whole BC vs CC debate needs to forfeit his or her rights to reproduce another human being so that our posterity is devoid of whatever deleterious genes he or she possesses. I hope that one day, whoever disparaged this innocent victim is held accountable for their filth.

  • telling says:

    @telling It is telling that after an attack like this one of the most common responses has been to suggest the victim was engaging in unintelligent behaviour. That may be true but it is only because of the environment she was in.

    Instead what should be more troubling to New Yorkers and Columbians is the apparent complacency of its residents to the fact that criminal elements have ownership of parts of the city and certain times of the day even right outside our campus. The fact that it may be a reality doesn’t mean that it can’t still be reason for disgust and something that more residents can be concerned about. Changing in reaction to crime and not challenging it will ensure the status quo.

  • "security alert"? says:

    @"security alert"? Hey, it says CU Public Safety sent out a “security alert” on 7/8/10. I never received such an email and found out about this when I happened to check bwog last night. Did anyone else have the same experience? I find it a bit odd/alarming if students were not notified. I wish Marisa a quick recovery, and all the best for both her and her family. For those who are interested, I know Barnard has a self-defense course that focuses on urban environments.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Why would a man beat her up so bad for an iPod? A lil gal like this… couldn’t he have just hit her once, scared her, asked for the iPod, knocked her unconscious lightly (so she couldn’t get to the cops) and then run off? Instead it seems like some pretty intense shit happened — and eventually she was SLUMPED OVER a bench. What? How did she get there? A scared criminal had the curtsy to slump her some place where others would eventually see and call an ambulance? I think not.

    Do you think she was sexually abused?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Good point. Maybe she was… I’m not sure. Why was she slumped over a bench and not on the ground?

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