Arrest made in attempted rape of woman in front of Manhattan church

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS, Manhattan — Police have arrested the man accused of attempting to rape a woman in front of a Manhattan church.

Xavier Lazu, 20, was taken into custody Wednesday night and faces charges of attempted rape, sex abuse and criminal sex act.

The incident happened at about 11:20 p.m. Monday, when police said a woman was approached from behind as she walked by the St. Rose of Lima church in Washington Heights.

The alleged attacker covered the victim’s mouth and dragged her under an awning where he threatened and attempted to rape her, said police.

Then forced the victim to perform a sexual act on him but fled when a passerby approached them, said cops.

The woman was taken to the hospital for evaluation.

PIX11’s Anthony DiLorenzo and Nicole Johnson contributed to this report.