Crime history: Woman raped, killed as New Yorkers watched

|
Local,Crime,Scott McCabe,Crime History

On this day, March 13, in 1964, Catherine "Kitty" Genovese was raped and stabbed to death in Queens, N.Y., while dozens of people failed to respond, leading to a study of the "bystander effect."

Genovese was returning home from her job as a bar manager at about 3 a.m. The assault lasted 35 minutes. A front page article in the New York Times described how witnesses heard or saw parts of the attack but did nothing to stop it or call police.

"I didn't want to get involved," one woman said.

Psychologists now call this phenomenon "Genovese syndrome": the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely any of them will help.

The killer, Winston Moseley, confessed to Genovese's slaying and two others. He was sentenced to life behind bars.

smccabe@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment