Grand jury indicts Christina Regusters for alleged child kidnapping
A grand jury on Monday indicted Christina Regusters, 19, for her alleged involvement in the kidnapping and rape of a 5-year-old student from W.C. Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia.
Regusters is charged with two counts of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child causing serious bodily injury, as well as one count each of aggravated assault, kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, unlawful restraint of a minor, custodial interference, reckless endangerment and corrupting a minor.
She is next due in court on May 20 for an arraignment.
The former after school worker is accused of dressing in Muslim garb and signing out a 5-year-old from class.
The child was then allegedly taken to a home in the area of the 6200 block of Walton Avenue, where she was allegedly sexually abused.
A passerby found her early the next morning in an Upper Darby field, shivering and clad only in an adult male t-shirt.
Regusters was arrested Feb. 14, one month after the kidnapping took place.
Some were disappointed that the grand jury’s findings did not lead to any immediate charges against any co-conspirators in the case – investigators previously said they believed as many as three people played a role in the heinous crime.
“The family believes firmly and strongly others were involved besides Miss Regusters and we are hoping the District Attorney pursues them to the fullest extent,” said attorney Tom Kline, who represents the 5-year-old.
“I have full confidence in the District Attorney’s Office and the Philadelphia Police Department going forward will make their best efforts to ensure everyone is brought to justice.”
Reguster’s attorney, W Fred Harrison, Jr., maintained his client was not the one caught on surveillance camera taking the child from the school.
“I certainly don’t think my client played a major part in this affair,” he said.
“I think there are others far more responsible.”
He noted Regusters was herself a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member when she was a child.
“She feels this little girl should not have been subjected to this kind of torment and I don’t think she would subject her to this kind of torment,” he said.
Harrison said there’s still “a long road to go” when it comes to a trial – the attorneys will during the May 20 arraignment be handed down a scheduling conference date.
The trial will proceed four to six months after the scheduling conference.
“I hope that through the process, we will come up with the additional information to charge other suspects far more culpable than my client,” he said.
Kline said the lack of named co-conspirators “should not take away from the positive effect and positive step forward we have today.”
“Make no mistake about it,” he said. “This is a big step in the right direction to know Miss Regusters is on the path to justice.”
As far as the victim, he called her a “resilient, wonderful, sweet, kind, giving girl.”
But he said the child has endured a traumatic ordeal.
“To think of the brutality and the horror involved in this matter is unfathomable,” he said, adding the child has returned to an undisclosed school and is continuing her education.
“She will undoubtedly have physical and emotional scars for the rest of her life.”