Asylum seeker in court for alleged rape of minor

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The 21-year-old man accused of raping a minor appeared in Albany Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing Thursday afternoon. Sakir Akkan had previously been arraigned and had pleaded not guilty.

According to court documents, the assault happened in the area of ​​Old South Pearl Street and South Pearl Street. The 15-year-old girl in Akkan's car was allegedly threatened with a metal bar when she ordered him to stop.

The preliminary hearing ended with a bail agreement. “He waived the preliminary hearing in exchange for bail set by the prosecutor at $25,000 cash or $50,000 surety,” said George Lamarche, Akkan’s lawyer.

Lamarche told NEWS10's Anthony Krolikowski that Akkan can be released if he is released on bail. He did not do so on Thursday afternoon. But if there's federal detention because of his immigration status, he can't.

“And he’s an immigrant from Turkey?” Krolikowski asked. “From Turkey, yes. He’s seeking asylum here in the United States,” Lamarche replied.

The alleged rape allegedly occurred on May 14, and Akkan was not arrested until June 18. Some lawmakers are upset that the Albany Police Department has not released a public report. The APD says Akkan’s immigration status was not a factor and there was no imminent threat to the public.

“I think it’s a disservice to the community and to all of us in the Capital Region,” said Paul Burgdorf, deputy minority leader of the Albany County Legislature.

The APD released the following statistics on crime in the city between 2023 and 2024:

The following agencies responded to NEWS10's Anthony Krolikowski regarding the 21 percent increase in rapes in Albany with the following statements:

Amanda Wingle, Deputy Director of the Albany County Center for Victims of Crime and Sexual Violence, says, “We provide a full range of services to emotionally and physically injured victims of crime in Albany County. Services are available to anyone of any age who has been the victim of sexual assault or other interpersonal crime at any time in their life, or who has been affected by the assault of another person.

Wingle adds that the main office can be reached at 518-447-7100, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Free services provided include:

  • 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline (518-447-7716), which victims of sexual assault can call for support, information or resources.
  • Advocacy and support at Albany Medical Center for patients undergoing forensic examination following a crime
  • confidential therapy for victims of interpersonal crimes, including sexual assault, domestic violence, assault and homicide (friends and family members of crime victims are also eligible for therapy)
  • advocacy in all local criminal courts in Albany County, as well as family court
  • assistance in completing New York State Office of Victim Services (OVS) Crime Victims Compensation applications
  • specialized services for students and victims of human trafficking
  • victim advocacy and support for all children and families served by the Children's Advocacy Center of Albany County (CAC)

Missy Stolfi, Regional Director of the Capital Region NY Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, says, “When someone experiences a traumatic event like sexual assault, it can certainly take a toll on their mental health and increase the likelihood of developing a mental health issue. When it comes to suicide risk, there is not just one cause of suicide, but contributing factors such as trauma and a person’s mental health status can increase the risk. So having access to support and treatment to address these experiences is critical. There are resources and supports available, including right here in the Capital Region, to guide survivors of sexual assault through the healing process.”

Stolfi adds that the 988 suicide and crisis line is available 24/7 by phone, text or chat. “You don’t have to be actively suicidal to seek help for yourself or on behalf of someone you’re concerned about. St. Peter’s Crime Victim Services is a good resource.”

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