Woman indicted for kidnapping, molesting girl
PHILADELPHIA - April 29, 2013 (WPVI) -- In Center City Philadelphia, a grand jury indictment was announced against a teenager accused of putting a 5-year old through a horrific experience.
Christina Regusters was put behind bars in part because of a video that allegedly shows the 19-year old kidnapping a little girl from Bryant Elementary in January.
Police say Regusters then brutally assaulted the girl.
Regusters was not in court today when District Attorney Seth Williams announced the indictment on 11 charges. Her attorney maintains she is innocent, and if she was involved in the kidnapping she didn't act alone.
Regusters was arrested in February and charged with the January 18th kidnapping of the 5-year old girl from her West Philadelphia kindergarten class by a woman - believed to be Regusters- dressed in Muslim attire - claiming to be the girl's mother.
Investigators allege that Regusters took the girl to the home she shared with other family members in West Philadelphia and sexually assaulted her. The girl was discovered wearing only a t-shirt early the next day on an Upper Darby playground. Tom Kline, the attorney for the little girl and her mother called today's indictment progress in the pursuit of justice.
"There is definitely a need to say congratulations on a step forward today by the D.A.'s office," Kline said, "But we are definitely convinced that there are others involved and the investigation must not stop and must continue."
Regusters' attorney also believes others were involved in the crime - although so far no one else has been charged.
"I certainly don't think that my client is a major participant in this offense," attorney Fred Harrison told reporters. "I think there are others who far more responsible and I think it will come out at some point during these proceedings."
He says Regusters was a victim of sex abuse as a child and would not have harmed the victim and instead helped her to escape.
"She may have had some participation, But I don't believe she had participation to the extend the indictment suggests," Harrison added.
Grand juries are something new at the county level in Pennsylvania. The proceedings are very secretive, allowing for better protection of witnesses. The specifics of this indictment won't be released for a few weeks. A trial isn't expected for at least 4 to 6 months.
Regusters remains locked up on $4 million bail.
philadelphia, local/state, sarah bloomquist
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