May 30, 2008

D.A. Drops Charges Against 'Collegetown Creeper'

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Abraham Shorey, the man suspected to be the “Collegetown Creeper,” will not stand trial for charges of burglary and sexual abuse, Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson said on May 9. Shorey, who is allegedly responsible for a string of more than 20 break-ins and assaults that victimized Cornell women in 2003 and 2004, is currently serving a six-year prison sentence in California.

In November 2004, Shorey absconded before an arraignment in Tompkins County Court for two charges of burglary and two charges of sexual abuse. He was on the run for two years until he was arrested on May 6, 2006 in Normal Heights, San Diego. Shorey pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and one count of assault with intent to commit rape and is scheduled to be released from prison in 2012.

The crimes for which Shorey is currently serving a sentence are more serious than the crimes he was charged with in New York, Wilkinson said in September 2006.

After Shorey was arrested in 2006 Wilkinson told The Sun, “I fully intend to hold Abraham Shorey accountable for any crimes he’s committed in New York State … If Abe Shorey is guilty, he will go to prison in New York, it’s just a matter of when.”

However, over the lapse of time between his indictment in 2004 and his capture two years later, the case against Shorey grew weak. As a fugitive, Shorey had many encounters with law enforcement officials, but evaded the law by providing false identification cards.

“We lost key witnesses, which is always devastating but common,” Wilkinson said. “Unfortunately in a college community, victims are often students and they tend to relocate … It is difficult to force someone to come back when they’re 3,000 miles away.”

Efforts to locate one of the victims as well as a key witness in the case, were not successful. In addition, there was no DNA or other forensic evidence that could possibly implicate Shorey.

Wilkinson blamed Shorey for the delay and subsequent breakdown of the case.

“People did all the things normally done in locating a fugitive,” she said.

Before fleeing to California in 2004, 23-year-old Shorey resided in Ithaca, where he worked as a cook at The Nines in Collegetown. Shorey, a father of six, sported dreadlocks and played the dkembe drums in his spare time. At the time of his arrest, Lauren Signer, chief of the Ithaca Police Department at the time of Shorey’s arrest, described the alleged “Creeper” as “bright,” “well-spoken,” and someone who “fit into the Cornell community.”

Recent reported incidents of intrusion mirror the Collegetown Creeper’s crimes. On the morning of March 25, within two-and-a-half hours of each other, two women reported being awoken by a male intruder in their bedrooms on Maple Ave. In each case, the prowler fled upon being confronted by the female resident. According to The Ithaca Journal, the Tompkin’s County Sheriff’s Office and the Cornell Police Department are conducting a joint investigation into both incidents.