An Ohio man accused of raping a 10-year-old girl filed a motion last week to have the rape charges against him dismissed because the child he allegedly assaulted died earlier this year, just before the trial was set to start.
Attorneys for 45-year-old Robert Seman have asked a Mahoning County judge to drop a felony rape charge for the alleged assault of Corrine Gump, who died along with her grandparents in a house fire on March 30. Incidentally, the fire occurred the same day the trial was scheduled to begin, which has not gone unnoticed by prosecutors or the media. According to multiple reports, Seman appeared in court the Monday after the fire with burns on his body, which he reportedly attempted to cover with makeup.
“Hours before the trial was supposed to begin this victim dies in a fire under the most suspicious circumstance,” said Mahoning County District Attorney Dawn Cantalamessa.
Gump and her grandparents, Billy and Judy Schmidt, were killed in an early morning fire at their home on Powers Way in Youngstown, Ohio.
Prosecutors plan to go forward with the rape case, using statements given to a nurse and a caregiver for Gump.
In addition to the rape charge, Seman is also accused of bribing a witness.
Prosecutors say he offered a witness $10,000 to say that Gump was lying when she said Seman raped her.
“She was absolutely a beautiful little girl, very articulate, only 10 years old,” said Cantalamessa. “Somebody who did not deserve these things that happened to her.”
If convicted of rape, Seman could face life in prison.
Seman remains locked up in the Mahoning County Jail, while the judge decides whether to drop the charges.