A young Philadelphia girl will not only face the woman accused of brutally raping her, now both are expected to testify in the Cobbs Creek abduction and rape trial.
Christina Regusters, who is accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting the child, who was five at the time, will testify during her criminal trial, according to defense attorney Fred Harrison.
Regusters sat silent in court during opening statements Monday with her legs crossed, wearing a black sweater, tan dress pants pants and black high-top sneakers.
Harrison revealed to jurors in his opening statements that Regusters was sexually abused by her father in 2005 and raped by an unknown perpetrator in 2012.
Regusters is charged with abducting a kindergarten student from Bryant Elementary School in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood of Philadelphia, and sexually assaulting her with such brutality that the child has required a series of reconstructive surgeries.
As the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began its quest for justice for the child who was held captive for 19-hours during the January 2013 assault, prosecutor Christine O’Brien described the events the victim experienced inside 6423 Walton Avenue as a “nightmare.”
The victim, now 7, is also expected to to take the stand during the trial.
O’Brien alleges Regusters walked into Bryant Elementary School on Jan. 14, 2013 wearing Muslim garb, signed the child out and headed toward Walton Avenue. Before arriving at the home, Regusters allegedly put the child into a laundry bag and carried her up the steps.
During her captivity, the victim was kept under a bed, naked and blindfolded. She later told police she heard a large talking bird and was told, “If you scream, that bird will peck your eyes out.”
Outside the courtroom, Tom Kline, the attorney representing the victim and her mother in a civil case, said the victim has a lot to overcome.
"She is a precious, sweet, beautiful child that will have a lifetime of emotional and physical scars," Kline said.
Harrison reminded the jury that four people lived at 6243 Walton Avenue, and yet Christina remained the sole focus of the police investigation.
“Don’t make hasty judgments,” he said.
The state alleges Regusters anally and vaginally penetrated the kindergartner with an unknown object. The child described it as a toothpick because it felt sharp.
O’Brien told jurors that Regusters tried to confuse the "terrified" victim into believing that she'd been attacked by a man.
After repeated assaults, the child was dropped off before daybreak at an Upper Darby park and placed underneath a sliding board wearing only a t-shirt. O’Brien told jurors they will be shown surveillance video of Regusters lifting the child over a wall outside the home, after the attacks.
A passerby heard the child’s whimpers and screams at the park and called police.
“I’m scared,” O’Brien said the tiny voice could be heard saying on the 911 tapes.
Harrison instructed the jury to be fair and impartial.
“The victim in this case was brutalized, a little girl. It shouldn’t have happened to her. Shouldn’t happen to anybody. You can’t let sympathy come in and cloud your judgment,” Harrison said.
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