Karl VanderWoude, 27, was falsely accused of being the culprit in April, but New York City police investigators completely cleared his name in May.
Chris Wood felt happy on learning New York police arrested a man for allegedly groping women in the city's financial district.
This time, the Holland resident said, she hopes they have the right guy. In April police arrested her son Karl VanderWoude, and news shot around the world about the "gentleman groper."
VanderWoude, 27, was completely cleared in May, after video and computer evidence showed the Holland native was nowhere near the three attacks in February and March.
Still, "you're a little more vindicated when they actually find the bad guy," Wood said. She and her son had exchanged messages on Sunday after he'd learned of the new arrest.
Paul Kraft, 31, the Brooklyn man arrested last week — and currently free on $5,000 bail — is charged with five counts each of forcible touching and sexual abuse as well as one count of unlawful surveillance. Police said the suspect attempted to use his cellphone to record video under one victim's clothes. Four of the five victims identified Kraft in a police lineups, according to multiple New York media reports, and Kraft's MetroCard record shows he was in the area of each attack. The New York Post first reported the story.
"I hope they have better evidence with this new guy," Chris Wood said in a phone interview with The Sentinel. "It occurred to me that he has a mom, too, and I'm feeling bad for her today."
Wood said the glare of international media attention stunned their family, but it didn't change her son, who works for a private equity investment firm and in his personal life is a Bible-study leader. His employer and New York church family were steadfast in their support after the arrest.
"He's still Karl. I think it aged him. I think it matured him," Wood said. "I don't think he's any different than he's ever been, but it brought out some of his deep strengths that he hasn't had to call on in a while. I think he's been introspective since May. It rocked his world."
VanderWoode, the second of Wood's six children, was home for his brother's wedding last summer but won't be back in town again this year. Wood said she plans to visit him in New York soon.
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