Asylum seeker in court for alleged rape of minor

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) -The 21-year-old man who is accused of raping a minor appeared in Albany City Court on Thursday afternoon for a preliminary hearing. Sakir Akkan was previously arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty.

According to court documents, the attack happened in the area of Old South Pearl Street and South Pearl Street. The 15-year-old girl who was in Akkan’s car is said to have been threatened with a metal bar as she told him to stop.

The preliminary hearing ended with a bail agreement. “He has waived his preliminary hearing in exchange for the district attorney setting bail at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond,” explained George Lamarche, Akkan’s attorney.

Lamarche told NEWS10’s Anthony Krolikowski that Akkan can be released if bail is posted; he has not done so as of Thursday afternoon. But if there is a federal hold due to his immigration status, he can not.

“And he’s an immigrant from Turkey?” asked Krolikowski. “From Turkey, yes. Seeking asylum here in the U.S.,” answered Lamarche.

The alleged rape is said to of happened on May 14 and Akkan was not arrested until June 18. Some lawmakers are upset that the Albany Police Department did not issue a public report. APD says Akkan’s immigration status was not a factor and there was no imminent threat to the public.

“I think that’s a disservice to the community and all of us in the Capital Region,” stated Paul Burgdorf, Deputy Minority Leader of the Albany County Legislature.

APD has issued the following statistics on crime in the city between 2023 and 2024:

The following agencies have responded to NEWS10’s Anthony Krolikowski about the 21% increase in rapes seen in Albany with the following statements:

Albany County Crime Victim & Sexual Violence Center’s Deputy Director Amanda Wingle says, “We provide a comprehensive range of services to emotionally and physically injured crime victims in Albany County. Services are available to anyone of any age who has experienced a sexual assault or other interpersonal crime at any time in their life, or who has been affected by someone else’s assault.”

Wingle adds the main office can be reached at 518-447-7100, Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30. The free services provided include:

  • 24-hour sexual assault crisis hotline (518-447-7716), which victims of sexual assault may call for support, information, or resources
  • advocacy and accompaniment at Albany Medical Center for patients receiving a forensic exam following a crime
  • confidential therapy for victims of interpersonal crimes, including sexual assault, domestic violence, assault, and homicide (friends and family members of crime victims are eligible for therapy as well)
  • court advocacy at all local criminal courts in Albany County, as well as family court
  • assistance completing NYS Office of Victim Services (OVS) crime victim compensation applications
  • specialized services for college students and victims of human trafficking
  • victim advocacy and support to all children and families served by the Albany County Child Advocacy Center (CAC)

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Area Director of the Capital Region NY Chapter Missy Stolfi says, “When an individual experiences a traumatic event such as a sexual assault, it certainly can take a toll on one’s mental health and may increase one’s likelihood of developing a mental health condition. When it comes to suicide risk, there is not one single cause of suicide but contributing factors such as trauma and the state of one’s mental health can increase one’s risk, so it’s essential to have access to support and treatment to address these experiences. There are resources and supports available including right here in the Capital Region to guide survivors of sexual assault through the healing process.”

Stolfi adds that the 988 Suicide and Crisis Line is available 24/7 by phone, text, or chat. “One does not need to be actively suicidal to reach out for themselves or on behalf of someone they are concerned about. St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services is a good resource.”

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