By Christina Carrega
Though her eyelids, scalp and skin burned off, the former executive director of a Long Island City nonprofit said she forgave the acid attacker and associate who plotted the chilling crime.
Rev. Alexandra Dyer began working at the Healing Hearts Initiative in May 2015 and within months realized “something was wrong” with the nonprofit’s finances. After Dyer alerted the organization’s chief financial officer, they discovered their bookkeeper, Kim Williams, had stolen more than $750,000 since 2013.
“The defendant used her position to steal thousands of dollars in funding from a non-profit that helped society’s most vulnerable individuals,” said Queens Court District Attorney Richard A. Brown in a statement.
Williams admitted to Queens Supreme Court Justice Ira Margulis last month that she hired Jerry Mohammed to throw acid into Dyer’s face in August 2015 for uncovering a scam that had enabled her to purchase pricey handbags and a Mercedes sedan and to fund shopping sprees at Barneys. Williams, 49, was sentenced to 17 years in prison on Thursday.
“I was attacked by Mr. Mohammed presumably to silence my actions against Williams for funding a most venial life,” Dyer said as she read from her victim impact statement in court. “The second Mr. Mohammed threw the lye on me I was on fire, on fire and unable to see through my eyes.”
During Dyer’s statements, she requested court officials show Mohammed and Williams before and after photographs of herself. They both avoided looking at her after pictures.
“You are just as guilty as the person who threw the acid,” said Margulis, who imposed the agreed-upon sentence. “You hired him and were seen picking him up after the deed and drove away.”
Dyer, 62, also charged that their investigation showed that Williams was operating a “sex business” from the Skillman Avenue office and that the defendants stole closer to $1 million. Prosecutors said Williams gave $150,000 to a close friend.
“I’ve been asked if I forgive them and I do, I have from the beginning,” said Dyer, who relied on her religious beliefs in order to move on from the tragic event.
Williams declined to say a word to Dyer in court.
Dyer spent almost two months in the burn unit of Weill-Cornell Medical Center and had multiple surgeries as a result of the incident. Even in her hospital room, Dyer continued to work for the nonprofit until it went into bankruptcy and laid her off.
“I will have scars for the rest of my life. No eyelids, no eyebrows, no eyelashes, I will no longer be able to grow long hair. My eyes are in constant pain. I've changed but I am at peace and cannot overestimate the peace I regain,” Dyer said.
“How can someone, especially a woman, do this to another?” she asked outside of court.
Mohammed is expected to be sentenced to 17 years in prison on Feb. 20.