foster uncle Warren Neely being taken to 113 pct for questioning. December 24, 1987.

NEWS: Charles Rowe on lifetime parole for fatal rape of 10-year-old girl charged in new rape

An ex-con on lifetime parole for the rape and murder of a 10-year-old Queens girl was allowed to remain on the streets despite getting arrested again last year — and is now charged with another sexual assault, The Post has learned.

Charles Rowe, 56, was able to cash in on the state’s controversial “Less is More” act, which made it easier to keep him out of jail even after he was hit with a felony stolen car rap in December, according to law enforcement sources.

The convicted killer continued to remain free despite twice blowing off court appearances in that case — during which time he allegedly went on a brutal crime spree in Queens, assaulting one woman and raping another before he was finally locked up earlier this month, records show.

In both cases, he allegedly threatened to kill his victims, according to the court records.

“Charles Rowe is the poster child for parole violation,” one law enforcement source told The Post. “He did time for one of the most heinous crimes I have seen in 40 years and he robs a car less than a year after he’s released.

“Thanks to the governor’s ‘Less is More’ it is almost impossible to violate someone,” the source said. “Lowering the standards is responsible for one woman fighting off this monster and another woman being raped in two horrific crimes where both women were threatened to be killed.”

The statute, signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul in 2021 and enacted last year, allows parolees to avoid jail over a “technical violation” of their release conditions and, according to critics, also makes it tougher to put them back behind bars if they are accused of a new crime.

The victim, Vanessa Broughton’s foster uncle Warren Neely being taken to 113th Precinct for questioning on Dec. 24, 1987.
New York Post

“Prior to less is more he would have been held in jail where he wouldn’t be able to victimize innocent people,” the law enforcement source said.

Rowe had earned his lifetime parole status after he was convicted of raping and killing little Vanessa Broughton inside her bedroom on Christmas Eve in 1987.

Rowe was a guest of the girl’s family at their Jamaica home when he was left alone with the youngster, then raped and repeatedly stabbed her to death — leaving her naked and blood-soaked body on her bed, where she was found by relatives at 1 a.m., according to news reports from the time.

He was convicted of murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.

Rowe spent nearly 35 years behind bars before he was released from the upstate Sullivan County Correctional Facility on Jan. 19, 2022, and was to remain under close state parole supervision.

But less than a year later, Rowe was busted on felony grand larceny and other charges for allegedly stealing a van from a U-Haul storage facility in Jamaica on Dec. 9.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office said Monday that prosecutors had asked for $25,000 bail at Rowe’s arraignment on Dec. 10.

“He is on lifetime parole,” Assistant District Attorney Thomas Salmon argued in court, according to a transcript of the hearing. “He is also a discretionary persistent felony offender [with] four felony convictions, two prior failures to appear, [and] one parole revocation… So, for those reasons, judge, the people’s position is that the least restrictive means to ensure the defendant’s return to court is $25,000 bail.”

Vanessa Broughton
Charles Rowe was convicted of raping and killing little Vanessa Broughton inside her bedroom on Christmas Eve in 1987.
New York Post

But Rowe’s lawyer claimed that the ex-con had kept up with the requirements of his parole and asked Queens Criminal Court Judge Stephanie Zaro to release him without bail, saying his client shouldn’t be penalized because he “does have a past of, you know, 30 years ago.”

The attorney said Rowe was in the stolen U-Haul van simply getting warm with a gal pal.

“Judge, I believe that it would be a total miscarriage of justice to place my client in jail where he can’t post any bail on a D non-violent [felony] offense where my client is alleged to be in a van,” Legal Aid attorney Paul Montgomery told Zaro, according to the transcript.

The judge noted Rowe’s criminal record and that he had repeatedly been referred for psychiatric care while in prison — but agreed to free him on supervision.

“If the charges were more violent in any way, obviously I wouldn’t be doing this. But I will do supervised release at [parole’s] discretion,” Zaro said.

“Sir,” Zaro told Rowe. “You are getting a break.”

Following his arraignment, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said Monday that a warrant was issued for Rowe, who was brought in for a recognizance hearing on Dec. 23.

The administrative law judge released Rowe without bail, pending a preliminary hearing in his parole revocation case on Jan. 6 in Brooklyn Criminal Court.

But Rowe then failed to show up to his final hearing on Jan. 12 — when a judge would have decided if he violated his parole — and remained free despite skipping out on the rescheduled date of Jan. 31, a DOCCS spokesman said.

The hearing was rescheduled again, for March 17, when Rowe’s attorney asked that it be pushed off once more to Tuesday, the rep said.

Prior to “Less is More,” a parolee rearrested on a criminal charge could have been held between their preliminary and final revocation hearings, for up to 90 days, as long as probable cause a violation occurred was found.

But the soft-on-crime reform took away the “presumption of detention pending revocation,” according to a review of the law by the Manhattan Institute, adding another step where a judge decides whether the parolee will be released pending the outcome of their case.

Court records show that while Rowe was awaiting word on his parole, he also skipped out on criminal court appearances on the pending car-theft case on March 15 and April 12, with warrants issued for his arrest.

The warrants were dismissed when Rowe was back in court on March 22 and April 18, respectively, and he continued to remain free without bail.

Meanwhile, prosecutors allege Rowe was on a vicious crime spree at the same U-Haul facility, starting with the alleged rape of a 69-year-old woman on March 13.

The victim was leaving the storage facility when Rowe allegedly grabbed her from behind and warned her, “If you don’t do what I want I am going to kill you” before he raped her and fled, according to the criminal complaint against him.

On April 25, he was back at the facility when a 61-year-old woman caught him rifling through her pocketbook inside her storage compartment and confronted him, according to the complaint in that case.

Rowe allegedly turned to the woman and warned her, “Let’s not turn this into a murder.”

After the woman put up a fight, he allegedly told her, “You’re going to be my girlfriend tonight” — and then slashed her in the neck and chest and punched her in the face before running off, the complaint states.

Court documents show that Rowe was allegedly back at the scene the next day when he was caught on surveillance video burglarizing the business — and seen wheeling a shopping cart from the facility.

Rowe was arrested and charged with the three new crimes on May 13.

He was arraigned on May 14 and hit with first-degree rape, first-degree sexual abuse, predatory sexual assault, first- and second-degree robbery, weapons possession, burglary, petty larceny and other charges.

Queens prosecutors said they asked that he be held without bail, but the judge in the case instead set bail at $250,000 in cash or a $750,000 bond, the DA’s office said Monday.

Rowe remains locked up on Rikers Island pending a return court appearance on June 28.

The Legal Aid Society, which represents Rowe, did not respond to requests for comment from The Post on Monday. Court officials also did not respond.

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