A one-armed teenager managed to transform a Center City mall’s extra-large
bathroom stall into his very own pedophile haven where, cops say, he sexually assaulted his 6-year-old niece
The little girl - clad in a navy- blue uniform - lay stiff on the floor as her uncle knelt below her with his face between
her legs, witnesses said.
His jeans, the witnesses said, were pulled down around his thighs.
The horror took place inside the second-floor men’s restroom near the food court at the Shops at Liberty Place on
Chestnut Street near 16th, police said.
Witnesses said there were a half dozen people in the restroom at the time, but only one man alerted a mall worker.
The 19-year-old uncle, who is missing his left arm, was quickly arrested and charged with rape, statutory sexual assault,
false imprisonment and other crimes, police said.
The girl was treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and released to relatives, police said.
“It was a sick thing to see,” said mall housekeeper Roland Harris, 57, who led police to the girl.
Harris said there had been a handful of guys in the restroom during the attack. However, he said, only
one ran up to him to tell him what was going on.
The housekeeper said he raced into the stall and saw the little girl “stretched out on the floor.”
“I shouted, ‘What the hell are you doing to this little girl?’ ” said Harris.
Harris asked a co-worker, Sami Arrington, 29, who ran into the restroom behind him, to guard the uncle while Harris ran
to the nearby food court to find a cop.
Arrington said he watched in disgust as the teen struggled to buckle up his pants.
Arrington said he had yelled at the teen, “What are you doing?” He said the little girl was sitting on a toilet
“I am not raping her,” Arrington said the defendant had told him. “I was helping her to use the bathroom.”
Police said it wasn’t the first time the teen had attacked the child.
“He had the confidence and trust of this little girl,” Darby said, “and we believe that he molested this
child more than once.”
Allegheny DA calls for teen to be sent to juvenile court
|By Jill King Greenwood and Bob Kerlik|
Saturday, August 4, 2007
An Elizabeth Township girl charged with killing her father with a shotgun blast to the face
should not be tried as an adult, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said Friday.
Rachel Booth's defense attorney, Patrick Nightingale, and Deputy District Attorney Mark V. Tranquilli submitted court papers
seeking to have the homicide case transferred to juvenile court. Common Pleas Judge Anthony Mariani is scheduled to rule on
their request Tuesday.
Booth, 13, waived a preliminary hearing on a homicide charge and was moved from the county jail -- where she was housed
in a medical ward -- to a psychiatric hospital, as ordered by a judge.
Zappala toured the house in which she is accused of killing Matthew Booth Sr., 34, and said he was "disgusted" by what
Rachel Booth was forced to sleep on a couch "none of us would even put in our homes," said Zappala, who described
a filthy house in which the toilets were backed up, the smell was "incredible" and most of the furniture was broken. There
was a computer in the home -- Rachel was a 7th grade student with the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School -- but it was covered
in dust, investigators said.
"I'm consulting the Health Department, and if it's up to me, that house is coming down and no one is ever going to live
inside there again," Zappala said.
Booth is accused of killing her father early Monday as he slept in a first-floor bedroom. She told neighbors and investigators
that her father sexually and physically abused her for years.
Judge Jeffrey A. Manning ordered that she be sent to Shuman Juvenile Detention Center after her evaluation at Western Psychiatric
Institute and Clinic in Oakland. Judge Kim Clark appointed Kids Voice, a child advocacy organization, as the girl's guardian
until a dependency hearing Aug. 29. Her brother, Matthew Booth Jr., 14, also could have a hearing that day, Clark said.
Matthew Booth Jr., who lived with Rachel and her father, is staying with grandparents.
Zappala said Rachel "is as much a victim as she is a possible perpetrator of a crime. The question remaining
in my mind is, did she take someone else's life or was she trying to save her own?"
Zappala said detectives are reconstructing the last six years of her life and have paperwork documenting years of physical
and sexual abuse. He said mental health professionals are treating the girl and will give detectives a "better idea of what
exactly this child has been through in her life."
"The county child protection agency has been involved with this family for years, and as far as why Rachel was left in
this home as long as she was, (Children, Youth and Families) is going to have to answer some questions," he said.
Officials at CYF have said privacy restrictions prohibit comment about the case. Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School did
not return calls for comment.
At Boston Stitchery, where Rachel Booth worked, owner Deb Sherer, 56, said the girl left a phone message on her machine
yesterday saying that she's doing fine, "that she missed me, and to tell everybody that comes in the store that she's OK."
Booth told her she is happy her case is moving to juvenile court.
Sherer said she met Booth a month ago when she and her father asked Sherer to teach Rachel to sew. She spent most days
there learning to stitch and working odd jobs for a few dollars, Sherer said.
"She's very talented and very smart," Sherer said. "She'd come here and read and talk to customers."
Sherer said Booth was wallpapering and decorating a rear powder room in the shop that would be her area.
"She was in the process of fixing it up. Now I know she wanted to make a place pretty for herself."
Judge Grants Sole Custody of 9-year-old Girl To Father
by Kiran Krishnamurthy
SPOTSYLVANIA -- A judge granted sole custody of a girl to her father after a medical expert testified yesterday to believing
the man physically and sexually abused the child.
"It's unconscionable," the girl's mother, Tina Wilson, said after
the hearing in Spotsylvania County Circuit Court.
Wilson said she would appeal the ruling to the Virginia Court of Appeals.
J. Bruce Strickland, the father's attorney, had previously
argued Wilson has engaged in Parental Alienation Syndrome, which describes how a parent can brainwash a child into becoming
indifferent or hostile to the other parent and, sometimes, manufacturing abuse allegations.
The syndrome has not been accepted formally by
the medical establishment.
Circuit Judge Ernest P. Gates, a retired judge from Chesterfield County
appointed to hear the case, ruled that a "material change of circumstances" occurred because of Wilson's repeated allegations
that the father abused the 9-year-old girl and because Wilson had moved from the Fredericksburg area to Henrico County.
The Times-Dispatch is not naming the father to protect the girl's
identity. Wilson has changed her last name.
Richard Ducote, Wilson's attorney, said after
the hearing that Gates' ruling, and similar ones by other judges, puts Wilson and other parents who suspect abuse in an untenable
"If she suspects abuse and doesn't report it, she's an unfit mother.
If she reports it, this happens," he said.
Another attorney in a separate child-custody case arising in Hanover
County and now on appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court argues parents should not be penalized for acting in what they consider
their children's best interests.
That attorney, Cullen Seltzer, also contends the state's high court
needs to clarify a provision in state law that permits a judge to consider, when determining custody, whether a parent supports
a child's contact and relationship with the other parent.
In yesterday's Spotsylvania case, the judge said he thought the father
would be supportive of the child's relationship with Wilson, but he said she would not be similarly supportive. Wilson last
June violated a court order by taking the child to a domestic-violence shelter because she said she feared for the girl's
"The hatred that she has for the father has compromised the child's
needs," Gates said, adding that the girl seems to thrive in her father's custody.
The hearing came after Gates in November ordered a psychiatric evaluation
of the girl.
Dr. Sheila Furey, a Hopewell child psychiatrist paid by Wilson, testified
yesterday that she believes the father verbally, physically and sexually abused the girl and that the child would be in jeopardy
if she lives with him.
The father has been convicted of domestic abuse against Wilson, but
she still agreed to shared custody. She later made the child-abuse allegations.
Furey testified the girl likely performed better in school while living
with her father because she feared him, while the girl acted up when living with Wilson.
"Acting out will occur in a place where they feel safe," Furey testified.
The judge allowed Strickland, the father's attorney, to reopen testimony
after its conclusion so the father could answer the child-abuse allegations from the witness stand. The father denied the
allegations, and the judge determined them unfounded.
"It's the right ruling," Strickland said afterward. "This case is
probably going to continue, which is not good" for the girl.
|Rest in Peace and Warmth
Frozen toddler's father also faces sex charge
February 8, 2007
PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- A man angry his toddler daughter wouldn't go to bed knocked her unconscious
and left her to die outside in single-digit temperatures, police said.
The frozen body of Nyia Miangel Page, who was about to turn 2, was found Sunday at an abandoned playground about a 10-minute
walk from the family's home.
Tiny footprints in the snow suggest she had gotten up and wandered around before she died, police said.
Her father, William Lorenzo Page, 23, of Braddock, was arrested Wednesday on charges of criminal homicide, kidnapping,
false reports and simple assault.
He has been in custody since Sunday, when he was charged with sexually abusing another child shortly before Nyia
Page, who did not have an attorney at his arraignment Thursday morning, was jailed without bond.
Page told police he woke up early Saturday and found the girl awake and playing near a mirror in the hallway, according
to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday night. He said he got angry when the girl wouldn't go back to bed and he hit her so
hard she lost consciousness, the complaint said.
Police said Page told them he took the girl outside wrapped in a blanket and left her, still breathing, beside railroad
tracks near a bridge.
Police said a T-shirt, a pair of women's underwear and a Pittsburgh Steelers "Terrible Towel," all found in Page's basement,
appeared to have bloodstains.
An autopsy determined Nyia died of hypothermia, but the Allegheny County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide because
investigators said it was unreasonable to assume the child had made it alone to the playground, which is on a wooded knoll.
The toddler would need to have climbed 17 snowy steps to get there.
Authorities could only guess how long Nyia, wearing only a sweater and a diaper, could have survived in temperatures that
hovered around 2 degrees Saturday morning.
"Given her size, she would have been rendered incapacitated very quickly," Allegheny County Medical Examiner Karl E. Williams
said Thursday. "She'd been out so long, when we found her she was frozen."
A witness saw Page enter his house Saturday morning from the direction where his daughter was found, police said.
He was back out on the street about an hour later, saying he was looking for the girl and telling the witness, "Somebody
took my daughter," according to a criminal complaint.
Nyia's mother told police she last saw the girl after Nyia tried to crawl into bed with her parents about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.
The mother told police she put the youngster back into her own bed in an upstairs room.
Police, emergency crews and bloodhounds searched in 20-degree temperatures for most of two days before finding the little
The sexual abuse charge against Page came as police investigated Nyia's disappearance.
Police said another child in the house told investigators that sometime overnight Friday, Page entered a bedroom, covered
the child's mouth with one hand and touched the child's genitals with the other. The child said Page then left the room, followed
by Nyia, police said.