Rape suspect bound for circuit court

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — A teenage girl’s account of her alleged rape dominated a preliminary examination held Tuesday before 33rd District Court Judge Jennifer Coleman Hesson. The hearing concluded with Rakeshkumar Patel, 48, bound over to Wayne County Circuit Court on four charges related to the alleged Nov. 23 sexual assault.

The girl testified that she and her friends spent considerable time at the Trenton Food Mart, 3720 Fort St., where local teens knew the owner, Patel, as “Rocky.” The girl said she occasionally worked at the store for cash, and was provided alcohol several times, including the day before Thanksgiving. Her mother dropped her off at the store that day, she said, and planned to pick her up that night when the store closed.

She wasn’t working that day, and said that Patel gave her a caffeinated alcohol drink and a pint of vodka to drink while she was in the store’s back room. Another teen she knew dropped by the store and had a drink with her; she spent time on Facebook using a computer in the back room, which photos presented by prosecutors showed had a laptop and a mattress.

After the other teen left, the girl testified that Patel closed the store, entered the back room and gave her a bear hug.

“I have to go home,” the girl said she told Patel, who allegedly continued touching her, took her clothes off and sexually assaulted her.

After the alleged assault, the girl said she left and went to a friend’s house. Afraid to tell her mother what happened, she left the friends’ home before her mother arrived and returned home later that evening. The girl’s mother called Trenton police that night, and the girl met with investigators the next day. The girl was examined by a nurse after the alleged assault was reported.

On Nov. 24, Patel was questioned by Trenton Police Det. Sgt. Mark Enright, who testified during last week’s preliminary exam. Enright read a statement written by Patel which described how the girl kissed him and asked the man to touch her, which he admitted doing but that he did not rape or penetrate her.

Patel is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 17 in Wayne County Circuit Court on two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a juvenile between the ages of 13 and 15, a 15-year felony; one count of criminal sexual conduct of force or coercion; and one count of selling or furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Patel remained free on a $75,000 bond, surrendered his passport, and is prohibited from having contact with the victim or her family in any manner.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)

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