September 1, 2006

Alleged 'Collegetown Creeper' to Stand Trial

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Abraham Shorey’s alleged victims, many of whom were Cornell women, may have already graduated, but the fugitive, dubbed the “Collegetown Creeper,” still awaits trial in New York.
Shorey, 25, will be tried for his charges on Sept. 12 in San Diego. On May 5, after his arrest in Normal Heights, San Diego, he was taken into federal custody and is currently being held in the Vista Detention Facility, one of five county jails in San Diego.
“The fact he fled New York didn’t surprise anyone here,” said Lauren Signer, chief of the Ithaca Police Department. “We could see that he was someone who was disturbed and headed towards problems.”
Signer described Shorey, who worked at the Nines in Collegetown, as “bright,” “well-spoken,” and someone who “fit into the Cornell community.”
This description contrasts the hippie image painted by the media. According to the America’s Most Wanted website, he plays the dkembe drums and attended a “rainbow gathering.” In one mug shot Shorey has dreadlocks.
“He’s scary in the sense that he’s someone who comes across as very normal,” Signer added. This made the police chief believe that Shorey has a psychological or mental disorder.
“He’s certainly smart enough to be very active in his own defense,” Signer said, in reference to his Sept. 12 trial.
According to Lyndee Bastida, paralegal to Kate Flaherty, the district attorney on Shorey’s case, the Sept. 12 court date is an assignment court, where the jury will be selected and where the judge decides what of the attorney’s evidence will make it to trial. This procedure will happen unless Shorey plea bargains in California. A plea bargain means that Shorey would plead guilty, bypass a trial and receive a lighter sentence.
If Shorey is convicted in California, he will be sent back to New York, according to Bastida.
“It would be common for us to file a detainer,” said Gwen Wilkinson, Tompkins County District Attorney. “But when he comes back to New York State depends on what he’s convicted of in California, the witnesses we’ll have in Ithaca for a trial — they’re not necessarily local anymore — and whatever is most convenient in terms of the prosecution.”
She explained that a plea bargain from Shorey for his New York charges is economically advantageous because it saves setting up a trial, one of the inherent costs of the legal system. But, Shorey would still have to be flown to New York State.
“I fully intend to hold Abraham Shorey accountable for any crimes he’s committed in New York State,” Wilkinson said. “If Abe Shorey is guilty, he will go to prison in New York, it’s just a matter of when.”
Wilkinson reinforced the fact that Shorey is innocent until proven guilty in court.
After missing his Nov. 10, 2004 arraignment at Tompkins County Court, Shorey was on the run for two years.
During this time, Shorey was featured on the America’s Most Wanted FOX television program and radio show.
“We chose to feature Abraham Shorey because he had a number of victims, over 20 women,” said Jon Leiberman, an AMW reporter. “We want to bring justice to the victims by helping catch fugitives.”
America’s Most Wanted received tips on Shorey as being as far as Marion County, Florida.
He made it to Eugene, Ore., in August 2005 where he was arrested for a minor traffic violation. However, he gave police an alias and was released before they discovered his real identity.
A similar incident happened in Chula Vista, Calif., in May 2006. He was stopped for a minor traffic violation, but provided a false I.D. and was released before cops realized the mistake.
In California, Shorey faces six charges: four for burglary, one for an attempt to commit rape, and one assault with an attempt to commit rape, according to Bastida.
Lyndee Batida said that DNA evidence links him to at least one of these charges.
“He is someone who would be classified as extremely dangerous,” said Sgt. Nisleit, supervisor of the San Diego Sex Crimes Unit. “He’d be considered an opportunist in that he doesn’t physically break into places, but enters homes where it’s easy to.”
The state of New York has charged Shorey with two counts of burglary and two counts of sexual abuse.
According to Wilkinson, the charges in California are more serious, but also mentioned that the statutes in the states of New York and California are very different.
Jack Hochmann, San Diego County Public Defender, who represented Shorey in court, could not be reached for comment.
In addition to his charges in California and New York, authorities in Rutland, Vermont have outstanding warrants on Shorey.