The Queens District Attorney (DA) Richard A. Brown announced last week that a Massachusetts man has been indicted on hate crimes charges for attacking a Muslim employee inside the Delta Sky Lounge at JFK Airport in January.
The defendant, 57-year-old Robin A. Rhodes of Worcester, was arraigned on Thursday, March 16. He faced a four-count indictment, including third-degree assault as a hate crime, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, third-degree menacing and second-degree aggravated harassment.
He faces up to four years in prison if convicted, the DA says. Rhodes was released on bail and was ordered to return to court on June 12.
“The defendant is accused of physically and verbally attacking a woman for no apparent reason other than because of her religion,” Brown said. “Crimes of hate will never be tolerated in Queens County and when they do, regrettably occur, those responsible will be brought to justice.”
According to the criminal charges, the Delta-contracted employees was sitting in her office inside JFK’s Terminal 2 at about 7:10 p.m. Rhodes, who had arrived from Aruba and was awaiting a connecting flight to Massachusetts, came up to the door.
“Are you [expletive] sleeping? Are you praying? What are you doing?” Rhodes said to the victim, before punching the door, which hit the back of the woman’s chair.
The charges also say when the victim asked Rhodes what she did to him, he said, “You did nothing but I am going to kick your [expletive] ass.”
Rhodes then kicked the victim in the right leg. The victim tried to get away, moving into the corner of her office. Rhodes then allegedly kicked the door, stepped into the office and prevented her from leaving.
When someone came to intervene and calm Rhodes down, the Worcester man moved away from the door. The victim ran out toward the lounge’s front desk.
What happened after was equally as shocking.
According to authorities, Rhodes followed her, then got down on his knees and mockingly bowed down in imitation of a Muslim prayer. He shouted, “[Expletive] Islam, [expletive] ISIS, Trump is here now.”
“He will get rid of all of you,” he continued. “You can ask Germany, Belgium and France about these kinds of people. You will see what happens.”
According to the charges, the victim suffered pain and redness in her right leg.