Testimony: York Fair rape victim suffered 'acute' injuries

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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A girl who police say was raped when she was 14 after being lured from the York Fair by three fellow students suffered "multiple acute" injuries, according to a nurse who examined her.

York Hospital forensic SAFE nurse Tracy O'Brien testified by phone at the Wednesday, Aug. 1, juvenile decertification hearing of Andrew R. Miller. SAFE stands for sexual assault forensic examiner, according to hospital spokesman Dan Carrigan.

Miller, 17, of Manchester Township, is one of three young men charged as adults with rape and related offenses for allegedly raping the girl while threatening her with a handgun the night of Sept. 16, 2017.

The juvenile decertification hearings for his co-defendants — Kelvin J. Mercedes and Daishon M. Richardson, also both 17 and of Manchester Township — are scheduled for Aug. 21, according to senior deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser.

All three remain free on bail.

Juvenile decertification hearings are requested by defense attorneys fighting to get underage clients' adult charges transferred to juvenile court.

At Miller's hearing, O'Brien said she reviewed the records of the 14-year-old girl's initial forensic examination and also conducted a follow-up exam on the girl Sept. 27, 2017.

She testified that the "multiple acute injuries" to the girl's genitals included lacerations, abrasions, bruising, bleeding, swelling and pain.

Profound change: Also testifying for the prosecution was the girl's guardian, who said the alleged attack has changed the girl.

"She was always bubbly, happy," the woman said. "All that's gone."

The teen now stays home all the time and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the guardian, whose name is being withheld by The York Dispatch.

The girl had to leave Central York High School and enroll in a cyber school because she was being harassed about the case, the guardian said.

"It was too much," she testified.

Witnesses called by defense attorney Marc Roberts included Miller's father, boss, next-door-neighbor and current guidance counselor to try to convince presiding Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness to order Miller's case moved to juvenile court.

'Desire to excel': All testified that he's respectful and that they had no issues with him.

His boss, Dennis Schell, said he hired Miller to be a cook. Just last weekend, he said, Miller paid the bill of a woman who didn't have the money to pay.

"That's the kind of guy he's been since I've known him," Schell said.

Guidance counselor Brian Long of River Rock Academy, the alternative school that Miller now attends, said the teen "has a desire to excel" and has been "diligent" about working with teachers and Long regarding his grades.

Long said he has no safety concerns about Miller. He said the teen has been able to work out normal issues with other students, which he said were started by other students.

School discipline: Prosecutor Bowser also called to the stand Gregory Potteiger, Central York High School's associate principal.

"I saw him 19 times for discipline" when Miller was in the ninth and 10th grades, he said.

As a result, Miller served 19 days of in-school suspension and 10 days of out-of-school suspension, the latter for a single incident, Potteiger said.

School officials found marijuana paraphernalia in Miller's possession after someone reported smelling pot wafting from a school restroom, he said, and it was determined Miller had been in there during that time.

Although the school resource officer was alerted, police chose not to file charges against Miller because he had no actual drugs on him — just smoking material, Potteiger testified. That incident resulted in 10 days of out-of-school suspension, he said.

Under cross-examination, Potteiger agreed that none of Miller's discipline was for fighting, threatening behavior, possessing weapons or anything having to do with sexual impropriety.

Judge Ness gave both sides 15 days to submit written arguments, should they choose to do so, and said he will rule on Miller's decertification motion after that, he said.

The background: The girl testified at the three co-defendants' preliminary hearing in February that she went to the York Fair on Sept. 16 with two friends but left by herself through "the back gate."

It was there that she ran into Richardson and Miller, whom she knew, and a third teen with them she didn't know, whom she has identified as Mercedes.

They asked her if she wanted to see a dead body, and all four walked away together, stopping on the property of a business near West York's baseball field, she said. The girl estimated that was about 10 p.m.

That's where Mercedes lifted his shirt to show he had a gun, and Richardson told her to perform oral sex on him and pushed her head down, she testified.

"They all started taking their pants down," she said. "I just did what they told me to do ... because Kelvin had a gun."

More:Trial ahead for trio accused of raping girl they lured from York Fair

Dragged away: The trio then forcibly dragged her behind an abandoned house and took turns raping her, with Mercedes at times holding down her arms and at times holding a gun, according to the girl.

Afterward, one of the young men called for someone to pick them up, and she was forced to get in a maroon SUV under threat of physical harm, according to her testimony.

After a short drive, she was pushed out of the SUV and fell to the ground as it drove off, she said.

Defense attorneys for Miller, Richardson and Mercedes have said their clients maintain their innocence.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.