Former daycare worker found guilty in child rape trial - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former daycare worker found guilty in child rape trial

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(NBC Philadelphia) - A former daycare worker has been found guilty of abducting a 5-year-old girl from her Philadelphia elementary school and then brutally sexually assaulting her with a sharp object.

The jury's verdict marked the culmination of a nearly two-year ordeal that has horrified city leaders and residents.

Christina Regusters was convicted of all six charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault of a child. The 21-year-old sat emotionless Friday morning as the jury of seven women and five men threw the book at her inside a packed courtroom at Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center.

Her mother, sitting behind her, sobbed into a washcloth. Tears also streamed down the faces of the victim's family.

"She's an amazing and courageous little girl," lead prosecutor Erin O'Brien said of the young victim following the ruling. The girl, now 7, had testified in court before the accused.

A guilty verdict on only two of the charges would carry a sentence that amounts to life in prison. Regusters' sentencing was set for Dec. 15, and Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart ordered a mental health evaluation.

"It was a fair verdict," W. Fred Harrison, Jr., Regusters' attorney, said after leaving court. He said Regusters is planning to appeal.

Prosecutors said Regusters, dressed in Muslim garb, posed as the 5-year-old's mother as she signed the child out of Bryant Elementary School in the Cobbs Creek section of the city on Jan. 14, 2013.

She was accused of leading the girl to a nearby home, putting her in a laundry bag and carrying her up into her bedroom. There, prosecutors say, Regusters blindfolded and stripped the girl, put her under a bed and sexually abused her with a sharp object. The entire ordeal lasted 19 hours, prosecutors say.

The girl was then dumped in an Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, playground wearing only a T-shirt. She was later found by a passer-by.

The girl had been severely injured in the attack, and doctors had to give her a temporary colostomy to let her body heal.

Regusters was arrested a month later and after a lengthy grand jury investigation was indicted on six counts: aggravated assault; involuntary deviant intercourse of a child involving serious bodily injury; kidnap to facilitate a felony; unlawful contact with a minor involving sexual offenses; unlawful restraint of a minor with a risk of a bodily injury; and concealment of the whereabouts of a child.

She remains the only person charged in the heinous crime.

Over the course of the 12-day trial, lead prosecutor Erin O'Brien painted the woman as a delusional monster who lied about her involvement in the kidnapping and rape.

Regusters and her attorney argued that she may have been involved in the kidnapping, but did not sexually assault the girl.

Extreme emotions filled the courtroom throughout the trial, with a number of people, including jurors, shedding tears.

The jury and media were shown graphic photos of the girl's injuries immediately after her attack, imagery so disturbing that members of the public were removed from the courtroom.

Read more at NBC Philadelphia

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