A woman who wore traditional Muslim dress to pose as the mother of a 5-year-old girl so she could take the child from a Philadelphia school and sexually assault her was sentenced on Monday to 40 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.
Christina Regusters, 22, a former childcare worker, was convicted in September last year of aggravated assault, kidnapping, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other offenses related to the crime.
“It’s the appropriate sentence,” said Erin O’Brien, an assistant Philadelphia district attorney. “It guarantees that the defendant won’t be able to do this to anyone else.”
O’Brien said the victim spoke at Monday’s sentencing. “She said that it’s wrong what the defendant did to her and she didn’t want her to do it to anyone else,” O’Brien said.
The girl’s mother also spoke.
In the January 2013 incident, Regusters posed as the girl’s mother, who wore a traditional Muslim head scarf, before signing her out of school early.
Regusters sexually assaulted the girl while she held her overnight, according to trial testimony. The victim was found in a playground early the next morning wearing a T-shirt on which police later found Regusters’ DNA.
The woman’s lawyer, W. Frederick Harrison Jr., argued during the trial that his client had rescued the child from an unnamed man in Regusters’ home, and that was how her DNA came to be found on the T-shirt.
Harrison could not immediately be reached for comment.
The girl’s family has sued the city’s school district, alleging it was negligent for failing to ask for identification at the school. (Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)