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DA: Man intended sex assault after break-in

If a Nesconset woman hadn't woken up to see her landlord's son standing over her with a rag soaked in starter fluid, he would have knocked her out and sexually assaulted her, Suffolk prosecutors said Thursday.

Neil Parikh, 27, is charged with second-degree burglary for breaking into the apartment in the basement of the home where he lived with his parents.

At Parikh's arraignment in Riverhead, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Chiuchiolo said that on April 27, Parikh soaked a rag in starter fluid and let himself into the 25-year-old woman's apartment while she slept.

He told police he was going to knock her out with the rag and then molest and possibly rape her, but when she woke up, he fled, Chiuchiolo said.

It wasn't the first time he'd broken in there, Chiuchiolo said. He told police he had broken into her apartment four or five times to surf for pornography on her computer and masturbate in her apartment, she said. He also told police he planned to knock out and sexually assault two other women, she said.

"He admitted he'd used the starter fluid on himself on a prior occasion to see if it would work," Assistant District Attorney James Chalifoux said, adding Parikh researched how to best render women unconscious. "He said he was obsessed with her."

Although Farikh showed up at his arraignment voluntarily with his family after posting $15,000 bail after his arrest, Suffolk County Court Judge James F.X. Doyle ordered Farikh held on bail of $500,000 cash or $1 million bond.

Defense attorney Colin Astarita of Southampton said that was excessive for a person who clearly was not a flight risk, and he would ask a higher court to lower the bail. Doyle ordered Farikh, a slight man with facial paralysis, held in protective custody.

Astarita said his client has never been in trouble with the law. He is a graduate of Yale University and has a master's in business administration from Stony Brook University, he said.

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