Mom tells of rape in front of her baby

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The 26-year-old woman had just been raped in front of her 4-month-old daughter when her attacker bound her ankles and forced her to hop naked back to her own bedroom.

He ordered her to lay on the floor next to her bed, face-down, her hands bound in front.

As she peered underneath her bed, she saw the face of her fiance who, too, lay bound and gagged, face-down on the floor at the front of the bed.

With an angry, beet-red face, he asked through the duct tape covering his mouth, "Did he rape you?"

"Yes," she answered. "He raped me."

That powerful testimony marked the second day of the trial of Arthur Henderson, 39, who is accused of raping three women over two days in January 2012, as well as mugging and beating a man with whom he played poker.

The case, before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel, will continue today.

The third woman prosecutors say was assaulted by Henderson testified that she had taken her dog outside at 6 a.m. on Jan. 9, 2012, and returned to her townhouse in the Cascade Apartments complex in Ross about five minutes later.

She heard her now-husband's alarm going off upstairs, and when she entered their darkened bedroom, she saw him lying on the floor.

"I'm thinking, 'What are you doing? Get up. Why are you on the floor?'" she testified.

Then, she saw a dark figure in the corner of the room.

"I started screaming," she said.

The woman said the man in her bedroom told her to turn on a light and demanded money.

Her husband told her try to stay calm, "'As long as we do what he says, he's not going to hurt us,'" he told her.

The man had already bound her husband with clothing.

"I'll never forget that calm and collected voice," she said. "It was eerie."

As the attacker was trying to access a small safe in their bedroom to remove $300 to $400 inside, he gave the woman a roll of packing tape and asked her to unwrap it, she said. When she had trouble because her hands were shaking, she said the man ordered her to hurry up.

"To me that came off as anxious," she said. "Which made me anxious."

Worried he would become upset, she told the man she had a roll of duct tape in her kitchen. He followed her there, and then returned to the bedroom and used the tape to bind her husband's wrists and ankles, she said.

The attacker then bound her wrists and took the woman into the nursery, made her undress and raped her as her 4-month-old daughter screamed from her crib, she said.

"I said, 'Please, don't do this.' He said, 'If you say anything, I'm going to go in that room and kill your fiance.'"

When he was done, the man bound her ankles, asked for more money, took the woman's engagement ring that she'd had for only 16 days and left, she said.

Once she and her husband were able to free themselves, he grabbed his gun that had been locked in a case in a closet and tried to chase the attacker to no avail.

Then they called the police.

During cross-examination by Henderson, who is representing himself at trial, he repeated the same type of questions he asked of the first two women who testified against him on Tuesday.

He repeatedly asked the woman if she was afraid, but then went further.

"Is it true you and I had sex on the landing?" he asked.

"No, you raped me in the baby's room while she was crying hysterically," the woman answered.

"It's fair to say you were scared?" he asked.

"I was petrified."

"You was petrified," he went on. "Would you say it's hard to have sex under those conditions?"

That prompted a quick objection from Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka, who said, "She didn't have sex. She was raped."

In questioning both the woman and her husband, Henderson asked if they had met 30 days before the January attack, and whether the incident actually occurred around 2 a.m. and not 6.

"Is it true you opened the door and let me in about 2 a.m.?" Henderson asked the husband.

"No, it isn't," he answered.

"You never did a threesome before?" Henderson asked.

"No."

"Are you bisexual," Henderson continued.

"No," the husband answered loudly, but Ms. Ditka again objected, saying, "This is ridiculous."

mobilehome - neigh_north

Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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