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The New York Post, Sports+Late City Final; Pg. 20

Manhattan, NY

A career criminal - already doing time for beating an elderly Parkinson's victim in Harlem - has been linked by DNA to a brutal attempted rape of a child at the same address five years earlier, officials said.

Curtis Tucker, 46, pleaded not guilty yesterday to the fiendish 2004 assault, which left a 14-year-old girl with permanent facial scars.

Tucker lost his eyeglasses during the attack on March 1, 2004, and officials lifted DNA samples from the specs and from a drop of blood on a student MetroCard the assailant stole from the girl and dropped as he fled.

In 2007, the Manhattan DA won an indictment against the then-unknown man who left the DNA - a technique prosecutors use to avoid exceeding the statute of limitations on a crime.

Tucker grabbed the youngster in an elevator, choked her, took all the money she had on her - a single $1 bill - and the MetroCard, authorities said.

He tried to rape her, but she fiercely fought back, according to prosecutors.

The beating he inflicted left her with extreme swelling to her face, black eyes, a broken nose and a permanently disfigured lip, authorities said.

The defendant slipped up last year and beat a 74-year-old sickly man during a push-in robbery at the same Broadway building where the youngster was attacked.

After Tucker's felony conviction in that case, his DNA was collected and it matched the 2004 sample.

"The DNA database solved this case in three days," said Assistant DA Melissa Mourges.

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