Monday, May 13, 2013
Bensalem District Judge refuses to reduce $10 million bail for accused child rapist
Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2013
In a voice barely louder than a whisper, the 13-year-old girl wearing a smiley face T-shirt told the court how she tried shoving away the man raping her.
She was 10, maybe 11, at the time, she said.
“I’d tell him to stop,” the girl testified. “I’d always say stop.”
Would he stop, Bucks County prosecutor Kristin McElroy asked.
“No,” she said.
The girl was the lone witness at a preliminary hearing Wednesday for Michael Somahkawahho, 41, an unemployed Bensalem resident who is accused of repeatedly sexually abusing the teenager over two years. He faces a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 years if convicted.
Following the girl’s testimony, Bensalem District Judge Joseph Falcone held Somahkawahho for trial on all charges including child rape, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault on a child and related offenses.
The judge also denied a defense request to reduce the record $10 million bail to $50,000 unsecured and house arrest. To be released from Bucks County prison, Somahkawahho would need to come up with $1 million.
“There is nothing you can say,” Falcone told defense attorney Thomas Kenny. “No way. Never.”
Bensalem police allege that Somahkawahho assaulted the girl for two years, before he suddenly stopped last year. But earlier this year, he allegedly wanted to start having sex with the girl again, police said. She refused and confided in school officials, according to court documents.
The school officials notified the Bensalem Police Special Victims Unit in March about the sexual assault allegations. The girl was taken to the Bucks County Children’s Advocacy Center to speak to a forensic interviewer where she disclosed that the assaults took place at the man’s Gibson Road home, according to a probable cause affidavit.
On Wednesday, the girl testified that during the rapes she sometimes tried pushing away Somahkawahho, and sometimes after that, he would stop. But not all the time, she said.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas Kenny asked the girl if she could recall what time of year the assaults took place, but she could not.
Kenny asked how many times Somahkawahho assaulted her and asked if it was more than five.
The girl nodded then answered, “Yes.”
More than 10?
“I don’t know,” she said.
“Did he touch you the same way each and every time?” Kenny asked.
“Yes,” the girl replied.
Jo Ciavaglia: 215-949-4181; email: jciavaglia@phillyBurbs.com; Twitter: @jociavaglia;