Abraham Shorey, the man accused by the Ithaca Police Department of being the “Collegetown Creeper,” was released Tuesday on $5,000 bail. Yesterday, in an interview at his Brooktondale home, Shorey told The Sun that he was not the Creeper and that the IPD was simply trying to pin the blame on someone.
“I’ve been at the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.
Shorey said, pending possible felony charges, he cannot discuss the specifics of the case. His wife, Lisa Lake, said Shorey was innocent and was the victim of a media and police force that desperately wanted a perpetrator for the 13-month string of unsolved intrusions and harassments that have had the IPD frustrated and Collegetown students uneasy.
“He’s not an aggressive person,” Lake said. “Abe does not even fit the description of the Creeper.”
She said that the description given usually has the intruder with a ponytail, which Shorey does not have.
“They want to prosecute him in public before he even goes to court,” she said. Lake said that the police had lied to her, Shorey and the public about the confession that they reported having received last week.
Last Thursday, Police Chief Lauren Signer said Shorey had confessed to a string of related trespassings and the department was “confident that he is the person that is publicly referred to as the ‘Collegetown Creeper.'”
The next day, Shorey pleaded not guilty to criminal trespassing charges which could carry a penalty of a fine or up to one year in jail. Lake said that Shorey’s confession was to unrelated trespassing charges in relation to “Hippie Christmas,” when some locals go between Collegetown apartments taking student throw-aways such as furniture and televisions.
“He’s being accused of all these things he hasn’t done,” Lake said. “The Creeper needs to be known and it’s not Abe.”
A longtime friend of Shorey said that she was sure he was innocent, and that far from being a predator, he had saved her from an attempted sexual assault.
“They don’t have any evidence,” she said of the IPD and the local media that has been printing Shorey’s name and picture since the IPD released them.
“He’s ruined,” she said. “He can’t even walk the streets now.”
Several of Shorey’s co-workers at a Collegetown restaurant have also come to his defense. “There’s no way he did it,” one said. Another co-worker said that Shorey never made lewd comments about women or even paid them much attention.
“He wasn’t that type of kid,” he said. A Collegetown resident and Cornell student who asked to remain anonymous said that she has known Shorey for some months and that “he would never do something like that.”
Despite Shorey’s insistence on his innocence, Signer has not publicly wavered in her insistence that Shorey is the Creeper.
“I guess I’m disappointed [that he is free],” Signer told the Ithaca Journal on Tuesday. “Mr. Shorey had the same rights and opportunities to go home that anyone does. It doesn’t mean it’s a long-term thing.”
Shorey had been picked out of a photo lineup by a Collegetown resident last week, and he came to the IPD station voluntarily, according to a statement released by Signer.
The statement said that, after a “lengthy and skilled interview,” Shorey revealed that he is “responsible for many previous and similar crimes in the Collegetown area.”
In the IPD statement and interviews later on in the day, Signer had incorrectly identified Shorey’s residence.
Over 20 incidents, ranging from a stranger peering into the window to physical contact and cut undergarments, have been linked to the Collegetown Creeper, who generally strikes between 1 and 6 a.m.
The incidents stretch over a 13-month span in a small section of the Collegetown area. Two former victims interviewed were unable to confirm or deny that the person who had intruded on them as Shorey. Both declined further comment on the case.
“I have six children. I have a family. I have a life,” Shorey said. “Why would I throw all that away?”
The IIPD was not available for comment in time for this article.
Archived article by Michael Morisy
Sun Senior Writer