The man accused of trying to strangle an 11-year-old girl in a dispute at a Manhattan park last week had previously volunteered for a city nonprofit for traumatized children and young adults, according to a report.
Nathaniel DiRenzo, 29, was arrested Saturday for the mid-day incident, which allegedly began when he and two other dog-walkers yelled at some school kids throwing dirt and “poppers” and the argument escalated.
DiRenzo had previously served on the board of directors for the Lineage Project, which aims to teach children ways to cope with traumatic experiences, the Daily Mail said.
“Nathaniel DiRenzo was never an employee of the Lineage Project. He did serve as an uncompensated, volunteer board member. Mr. DiRenzo is no longer on our Board of Directors,” co-Executive Director Gabrielle Prisco told the Mail.
Prisco would not comment on whether Direnzo was removed from the board in response to his arrest.
The Lineage Project did not respond to The Post’s request for comment Sunday.
The organization says on its Web site that its mission is to teach “trauma-sensitive mindfulness to young people, ages 12 to 24, who are navigating system-involvement and other serious challenges, to support them in cultivating well-being, community bonds, and inner/collective resilience.”
DiRenzo’s bio on the Web site was removed as of Sunday, but it had said he is a New Jersey native who graduated from New York University. It said he previously worked for Congress and Politico and listed his interests as running and being “an unrepentant foodie,” the Mail said.
According to police, just around noon Oct. 20, DiRenzo, who lives on Saint Mark’s Place, approached the young girl and her classmates at Stuyvesant Square and began yelling at them over their antics and sprayed water on the group.
When the girl tried to fight back, DiRenzo grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the face, cops say. He then “wrapped his hands around the girl’s neck,” trying to strangle her, police said. She was taken to the hospital as a result of her injuries.
A 15-year-old male classmate tried to intervene once he saw the girl being attacked, and DiRenzo allegedly hit the boy, who was treated for minor injuries on the scene by EMS, cops said.
DiRenzo was arraigned and released on $7,500 bail on Saturday evening, when he was seen with his father.
He was charged with second-degree strangulation, two counts of acting in a manner injurious to a child, second-degree harassment and two counts of assault.