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Everett man heading to trial on 2,426 counts of sexual abuse

Updated: Wednesday, March 26 2014, 06:19 PM EDT

By: Maria Miller

EVERETT, Pa. -- A Bedford County man facing more than 2,000 counts of rape and sexual assault will be heading to trial.
 
Michael Edmonson's three alleged victims confronted him in court Wednesday morning and described graphic secrets they said they've been keeping for years until the youngest went to police in February.
 
"They're courageous, willing to stand up and tell the truth about what happened," said Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins. "They came forward and I'm very proud of them. They should be proud of themselves."
 
Two of Edmonson's alleged victims, now in their early 20, explained in detail sexual acts they said he did to each of them and made them do to him repeatedly for at least three years. Their younger sister, now 15, told the judge Edmonson started touching her when she was 5 and later raped her around the age of 12, just about every week up until this past February when she went to police.
 
"It's the first time they ever had to testify in court," Higgins said. "They're testifying about some very personal, graphic things that you'd never want to have to share those details even if you did that with somebody consensually."
 
The girls looked embarrassed and ashamed as they spoke quietly Wednesday. Through tears, sometimes taking long pauses, they described how Edmonson would often bring them to an old farmhouse to rape them, other times make them get out of the car along back roads always while the girls were together. But the defense pointed out that during testimony, the girls never said they witnessed abuse happening to each other.
 
"There were a lot of key facts from witness to witness that differed greatly," said Bedford County Chief Public Defender Karen Hickey. "The difficulty is that when you're at a preliminary hearing. The court is very constrained to what the court can consider. Credibility is not something it can consider so today's hearing is in no way a reflection of what the ultimate result will be."
 
Another problem the defense had is the charges, specifically when it comes to the exact age of the girls at the time of their allegations and the number of counts against Edmonson.
 
"To say how many counts per victim, what type of conduct, when it happened, where did it happen, there are a lot of unknowns of the case at this point," Hickey said. "Mr. Edmonson stands by his claim that he is innocent of all charges."
 
"I mean, obviously if you listen to what the defense attorney says in this case, we shouldn't have even arrested this guy," Higgins said. "But you hear the evidence, it's overwhelming and we're fully prepared to proceed to trial."
 
After a nearly two -hour hearing, the judge determined prosecutors presented enough testimony and evidence to bound all 2,426 charges to trial. Until then, Edmonson will remain in the Bedford County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bond.
 

Everett man heading to trial on 2,426 counts of sexual abuse


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