A woman accused of kidnapping a child from a Philadelphia elementary school and raping her was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison on Monday.
“I think what she did to me is wrong and she shouldn’t do it to anyone else. That’s all,” the now 8-year-old victim told Hon. Jeffrey Minehart at the sentencing hearing.
Christina Regusters, who dressed in Islamic head coverings to disguise herself when she signed the girl out of the school, has long maintained that someone else sexually assaulted the girl. She apologized for knowing about the crime in advance and doing nothing to stop it.
She then acknowledged signing the girl out ofBryant Elementary School.
“I’m not a monster,” said the convicted child-rapist. “I’m a very good person.”
A Good Samaritan found the girl wandering in a park 20 hours after she was kidnapped in January 2013.She was bleeding, anddressed in an oversized t-shirt that was later found to contain Regusters’ DNA.
Investigators say Regusters snuck the girl into her house on the 6200 block of Walton Avenue in a laundry bag.
Prosecutors sought a life sentence under a new state penalties that provide for them of a child sex abuse victim suffers serious physical harm. The girl required a colostomy bag for several months after the assault, during which she was hidden under a bed,prosecutors say.
And they disputed Regusters’ claim that other perpetrators were involved, arguing that she invented fictional characters to confuse the girl and to confound the subsequent investigation.
Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien said the invented characters, the Islamic costume, and internet research into how to conduct the crimeshowed a level of planning and preparation that rarely comes before the court system.
“These crimes are so far beyond what we normally see,” O’Brien said.
Regusters’ attorney, Fred Harrison, said that his client was the victim of abuse as a child, had watched her father beat his girlfriends,and that had been raped as an adult.
“The individual before you has suffered the same things that (the victim) suffered,” Harrison told Minehart.
The victim’s mother also asked Minehart for a lengthy sentence.
“She’s always going to have that space, that gray area that nobody can shine a light on, because there’s no real reason someone should do that to an innocent child,” she said.