Police said the attack happened around 2:30 a.m. Sunday.
Julie Etienne, a close friend of the girl's mother, was babysitting the child while the younger woman was at work.
Both women are originally from Haiti, and Etienne babysits every night in the girl's home while the mother, a nursing assistant, is at work. Etienne has known the girl for about seven years, and the family calls her "grandma," said the girl's mother, whose name we are withholding.
"She's a mother to all of us," the girl's mother said.
Police found no signs of forced entry and believe the attacker may have gotten in through an unlocked back door. door. Once inside, he went upstairs and found his way to the bedroom where both the girl and Etienne were sleeping.
The girl awoke to find the man standing over her bed, buttoning her shirt.
"She woke up screaming, 'Grandma, Grandma!' " Etienne said today, speaking in Creole as her grandson translated.
Etienne immediately went after the man, she said, grabbed his collar and tried to throw him out of the house. She pushed him toward the stairs as the man tried to cover his face with the hood of his sweatshirt.
They became locked in a "lengthy struggle," said police Capt. John Darby, commander of the Special Victims Unit.
The man fought back and threw Etienne down the stairs, and returned to the bedroom, where the girl was hiding.
He found her and began making "indecent contact," Darby said, before Etienne returned, and again tried to throw him out.
"I started screaming, 'Help! Help! Get out of here!' " Etienne said.
When the man grabbed her wrist, Etienne bit his right arm as hard as she could
. That's when the man ran downstairs and out the front door.
Etienne was treated and released for scratches, but was otherwise uninjured.
"She did a heck of a job protecting this 10-year-old," Darby said.