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New York rape case involving man, teen goes to grand jury

From Edmund DeMarche, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Michael J. Abdallah, 26, faces charges of rape, possession of a weapon
  • Buffalo police allege that Abdallah kept 13-year-old in his home for six months
  • Abdallah's lawyer, Frank M. Bogulski, told CNN the case is weak
  • Buffalo City Court Judge James A.W. McLeod ruled increased bail from $250,000 to $500,000

(CNN) -- Rape charges against a Buffalo, New York, man accused of holding a 13-year-old for six months will go to a grand jury after a court hearing Thursday that included testimony from the alleged victim, the district attorney said Thursday.

Michael J. Abdallah, 26, faces felony charges of rape in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon, said Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita.

Abdallah has pleaded not guilty.

Sedita said Buffalo City Court Judge James A.W. McLeod -- after listening to testimony from the teenager who had left home, a detective and an ex-girlfriend of Abdallah's -- ruled that there was sufficient cause for the case to go to a grand jury. He also increased bail for Abdallah from $250,000 to $500,000.

Abdallah's lawyer, Frank M. Bogulski, told CNN the case is weak.

The girl testified that she was not held hostage.
--Frank M. Bogulski, attorney for Michael J. Abdallah
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"The girl testified that she was not held hostage," Bogulski said. "And our witness, an ex-girlfriend, said she never saw inappropriate contact."

Bogulski called the bail increase excessive and inappropriate. The $250,000 bail had been set amid the police allegations that the runaway had been held captive at the suspect's home, he said, and "it seems a little ridiculous bail was increased when we learned today that she was free to come and go."

Bogulski said the girl's mother had told him that "her daughter went back home on several occasions ... during that six-month span. And she [the mother] was never told about her [the daughter] having sexual relations with my client."

Bogulski said the teenager is attempting to avoid blame for an injury to the hand of Abdallah's year-old son, whom she would baby-sit.

"She panicked and pointed fingers at my client," the attorney said.

Buffalo police allege that Abdallah kept the 13-year-old in his home from July through December of last year, behind dead-bolt locks and doors with no doorknobs. A criminal complaint alleges that Abdallah had sex with the teen more than 100 times.

Bogulski said Abdallah remains in jail. His next court date has not been set.