November 26, 2012

Victim of alleged rape misidentifies suspect in Portland courtroom

She later identifies the suspect in custody, and a judge finds probable cause for the charge.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

Mukhtar's birth date had previously been recorded as Jan. 1, 1994, which would have made him an 18-year-old adult at the time of the alleged attack. Berry had said at a prior court hearing that Mukhtar had been arbitrarily assigned a birthdate of record as Jan. 1 when he came to the country as a refugee from Somalia.

At the time Berry argued that his client should have been charged as a juvenile, Mukhtar had already pleaded guilty in adult court to a misdemeanor possession of cocaine charge. When the court ruled in July that Mukhtar should be considered a juvenile, the adult court went back and dismissed that conviction, Berry said.

Prosecutors subsequently renewed the case, and charged Muktar in juvenile court with gross sexual assault and a felony drug possession charge in place of the previous misdemeanor drug charge.

The judge ruled Monday that there was probable cause in the gross sexual assault case to consider binding over the case to adult court, but rejected binding over the drug case, leaving it to be prosecuted in juvenile court.

The hearing on whether to bind over the gross sexual assault case to adult court will continue Tuesday with the second phase. The judge will consider four factors: the seriousness of the offense, the characteristics of the juvenile involved, public safety and whether there are adequate sanctions in the juvenile system.

If convicted as a juvenile, Mukhtar would serve no more than three years in juvenile detention. If convicted as an adult, Mukhtar faces up to 20 years in prison.

Staff Writer Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at

sdolan@mainetoday.com

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