The brute accused of raping a woman in East River Park tried to assault another woman first — but she scared him away by pretending to call 911, a prosecutor said Sunday.
Paul Niles, 28, rode his bicycle toward the unidentified woman Wednesday night and “touched her on the buttocks,” Assistant District Attorney Meghan O’Brien told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Michael Stallman at Niles’ arraignment.
Niles fled after the woman pretended to call the police on her cellphone. But he became more aggressive with the second woman he saw jogging, O’Brien said.
“He approached her on his bicycle,” the prosecutor said. “He put his finger to his mouth and told her to be quiet.”
Niles then “grabbed her by the hair” and “pulled down her shorts and ripped off her underwear, shoved her to the ground,” and threatened to shoot her. Then, Niles raped her, the prosecutor said.
Niles pleaded not guilty to rape, robbery and identity-theft charges. If convicted of the most serious charges, Niles faces up to 25 years in prison.
“The defendant made a statement alluding to the robbery. (He) was identified in a lineup,” O’Brien said.
Niles’ arrest is not his first brush with the law, authorities said.
“The defendant has other arrests in New York and Maryland from 2006 to 2011,” O’Brien said. “They include violent crimes such as assault, possession of a firearm, robbery and theft.”
Niles’ rap sheet includes recent cases in Brooklyn for criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, the prosecutor said.
Niles, who turned himself in Saturday, is due back in court Monday for a hearing in those cases, she said.
He told investigators he had been living at a rehab facility and a homeless shelter and is suicidal.
His lawyer Michael Lewis said his client did not admit to the rape charges.
“He’s 28 years old,” Lewis told the judge. “My understanding is that he surrendered. He’s been homeless for a number of years.”
He argued that Niles could not afford bail.
Stallman noted the severity of the charges before ordering Niles held without bail.
“Based on everything here that I read and heard, he is a risk of flight,” he ruled.
Niles was also placed on suicide watch after threatening to hurt himself.
Before he came forward, tipsters flooded the NYPD Crime Stoppers hotline after cops released video of him using the victim’s credit card at a nearby bodega following the attack.