Jurors acquit man of York County Prison sexual assault, convict him of related felonies

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York County Prison in Springettsbury Township Monday, August, 24, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

A jury has convicted a former immigration detainee who was held in York County Prison of assaulting his cellmate in 2019 but acquitted him of sexual assault, according to court records.

Clifford Kamau Ibirithi, 35, now of Tacoma, Washington, stood trial in York County Court last week.

On Friday, jurors acquitted him of the felonies of sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion and strangulation, as well as of misdemeanor simple assault, court records state.

They convicted Ibirithi of the felonies of assault by a prisoner and aggravated harassment by a prisoner, records state.

His public defender, Eric Wayne White, could not be reached for comment on Friday afternoon.

Presiding Common Pleas Judge Amber A. Kraft set Ibirithi's sentencing for Aug. 10, according to court records, which indicate he remains in York County Prison on $200,000 bail awaiting that hearing.

Clifford Kamau Ibirithi

The background: State police filed charges against Ibirithi in November 2019.

His victim told investigators that Ibirithi had moved into his cell two days prior to the reported assault, police said.

The cellmate said he woke up to use the bathroom the night of Feb. 21, 2019, "and felt pressure around his neck and related it was a chokehold," court documents state.

The cellmate said he lost consciousness shortly after Ibirithi began sexually assaulting him, documents state.

The cellmate said he was unconscious for two or three minutes and that when he woke up, he was in pain and lying on the floor with his pants off, documents state.

The prison called police after the cellmate passed a note to a correctional officer, police said.

In an interview with state police, Ibirithi maintained any sexual contact was consensual, court documents indicate.

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