Woman sexually assaulted by predator in 1953 may finally get $3K reward she was promised almost 70 YEARS ago after helping to ID him
- Woman who was denied $3,000 reward in 1953 may finally be given the money
- The woman, now in her 80s, was sexually assaulted by predator as a teenager
- Police did not believe the Hartford woman’s story despite evidence of strangling
- But Irene Fiederowicz, 11, was raped and strangled to death just two weeks later
- The teenager, known as ‘Pidgie’, helped to identify the man, Robert Nelson Malm
- She was denied the $3,000 reward and told doing her duty should be enough
A woman who was sexually assaulted by a predator in 1953 may finally get the $3,000 reward that was offered at the time for helping to identify the man.
The woman, from Hartford, Connecticut, who is now in her 80s, helped in the identification, arrest and conviction of a man nearly 70 years ago, when she was sexually assaulted by him as a teenager.
Now, The House of Representatives has voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would finally issue the $3,000 reward that was denied to the woman at the time.
The woman is known by the pseudonym Patricia ‘Pidgie’ D’Allessio, a name used to protect her anonymity in a book describing the crimes in the southwestern section of the city in 1953.
‘It’s hard to believe that we sometimes have the ability to redress injustices of the past, but this is a case where we have an opportunity to grant a small measure of justice to an individual,’ said Ed Vargas, a state representative from Hartford, on Wednesday.
A Hartford woman, now in her 80s, who was sexually assaulted in 1953 may finally get the $3,000 reward that was offered at the time for helping to identify the man (stock image)
As a teenager, the woman was grabbed from behind while walking along Mountford Street in Hartford, forced into a backyard and sexually assaulted on a rainy night in 1953, according to the Hartford Courant.
The teenager and her parents reported the assault to the Hartford Police Department but were not taken seriously, despite evidence the man tried to strangle her with a scarf, according to Vargas.
‘Despite the red markings on her neck, the police discounted it as perhaps some boyfriend’s hickies,’ Vargas said. ‘She was not taken seriously. The police moved on.’
But an 11-year-old girl called Irene Fiederowicz was raped and strangled to death about a mile away just two weeks later, leading police to believe there was a serial rapist in the community.
Police returned to the teenager, known as ‘Pidgie’, for help and she ultimately identified the man, Robert Nelson Malm, from a police lineup and testified against him in court.
Malm was put to death in the electric chair on July 18, 1955, according to Peace Corps Worldwide.
Vargas explained that a $3,000 reward had been offered by Governor John Davis Lodge for information leading to the arrest of Irene’s killer.
The teenager, known as ‘Pidgie’, ultimately identified the man, Robert Nelson Malm, from a police lineup and testified against him in court, but was denied $3,000 reward (stock image)
Pidgie put in a claim for the reward but it was denied by Connecticut Supreme Court Justice Raymond E. Baldwin, and she was told that doing her civic duty ‘should be enough of a reward’.
The reward was reportedly dated two days after the teenager gave the police details and one day after she picked Malm out of a line-up, so her reward was denied as the offer had not yet been made.
Vargas said: ‘There was a $3,000 reward that had been posted by Governor (John Davis) Lodge at that time.
‘Unfortunately, she was told that she had done her civic duty and that should be enough of a reward.
‘Back then, $3,000 could have made the difference for Pidgie to have gone to college and have received a college education.’
Some lawmakers suggested on Wednesday that the woman should be provided interest on the reward money, but Vargas said her family had wanted the symbolic gesture.
The bill now awaits action in the Senate.
The murder of Irene was detailed in the 2006 memoir Girls of Tender Age by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, who was Irene’s classmate and friend.
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