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Man has court date on charges of raping girl, 13, holding her captive

By Edmund DeMarche, CNN
  • Buffalo, New York, man has pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape
  • Michael J. Abdallah, 26, was arrested Friday
  • Other charges: Unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference
  • Bond set at $250,000; Abdallah represented himself at arraignment
  • Child Abuse
  • Crime

(CNN) -- A Buffalo, New York, man is due in court Thursday to face charges that he raped a 13-year-old runaway police say he held prisoner in his home for six months.

Michael J. Abdallah, 26, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree rape, unlawful imprisonment and custodial interference. Thursday's hearing will determine if the case should be referred to a grand jury.

Buffalo police said that Abdallah kept the girl in his home from July through December 2009, behind dead-bolt locks and doors with no doorknobs. A criminal complaint alleges that Abdallah had sex with her more than 100 times. Police spokesman Michael DeGeorge said Abdallah also forced the girl to baby-sit his year-old son.

Abdallah is unmarried, and the identity of the child's mother is not known. Police would not say how the girl left Adbdallah's home, why there was a delay from December to February for his arrest or where the teenager is now.

Abdallah was arrested Friday when police raided his home on a child-abuse allegation, Buffalo media reported. The next day, Buffalo City Court Judge James A.W. McLeod set bond at $250,000 in an arraignment at which Abdallah represented himself. He has since been provided with a court-appointed attorney, according to media reports.

But friends of the defendant told the Buffalo News that he was nothing more than a Good Samaritan trying to help a runaway girl he met in a Buffalo park.

"Everybody has had their moments, but Mike is not a monster. As long as I've known Mike, he's always been kindhearted to me. If he could help you, he will help you," Alicia Bellaus, 20, who grew up next door to Abdallah's relatives, told the paper.

"Mike always had her calling to someone, supposedly her aunt, to say she was doing OK. From what I knew, her aunt or her mom knew where she was staying," said Bellaus, who previously had a romantic relationship with Abdallah. "To look at her, she is very developed physically, and you would think that she is older than 13."

Bellaus said the girl told her she was 17 or 18 and denied having sex with Abdallah, and that she also said she did not want to go home to her mother, the News said.

Police told the News that the family filed several missing person reports after the girl disappeared in July. And an unnamed law enforcement official told the paper that Abdallah was a manipulative drug dealer who "lured her in" and kept her trapped physically and psychologically. CNN, however, could not confirm that official's view.

George Kimble, who lives four doors from Abdallah, said he was surprised when he learned about the accusations.

"This is a street where everyone knows everyone," said Kimble, who remembered Abdallah moving in about a year-and-a-half ago. "I never recall him with a 13-year-old girl."

Kimble said Abdallah was seldom home, and their brief conversations were limited to Abdallah's two dogs. Other neighbors told Kimble the house had a steady stream of visitors on any given day.