Fetus DNA used to see who impregnated teen

Charged in sex offenses: Abraham Essome (left), Jean Assena.
Charged in sex offenses: Abraham Essome (left), Jean Assena.
Posted: September 30, 2010

Two men are facing charges in Upper Darby for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, and police are using DNA from the victim's aborted fetus to determine which of the men impregnated her.

It's the second time this year that police in Upper Darby are using DNA from an aborted fetus in a rape case.

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said that the 14-year-old girl and a 17-year-old friend were allegedly picked up by Jean Assena, 36, of Upper Darby, and Abraham Essome, 37, of Philadelphia, while walking in Philadelphia in July.

He said the girls told police that they didn't know the men but that the men promised to take them to dinner if they first had sex with them.

The girls had consensual sex with the men on the front steps of an Upper Darby home, Chitwood said. One of the girls even stole one of the men's credit cards while he was having sex with her friend, police said.

"It's a sad commentary on values," Chitwood said.

The mother of the 14-year-old took her to the police department in early September after she discovered that the girl was pregnant, police said.

The teen identified Assena and Essome in a photo lineup and they were arrested and charged with indecent exposure, statutory sexual assault and related offenses, police said. Chitwood said that the men did not face charges for having sex with the 17-year-old because she was of the age of consent.

"The suspects didn't think they did anything wrong; they thought it was consensual and that was it," Chitwood said. "But adult men can't be having sex with 14-year-old kids, regardless if it was consensual or not."

When police learned that the girl planned to get an abortion, they obtained a search warrant for the "product of conception," or the aborted fetus, to determine which of the men allegedly impregnated the girl.

When the DNA results come back, that man could face additional charges, Chitwood said.

In May, Upper Darby police said that they used similar DNA testing of an aborted fetus to prove that a 19-year-old woman was raped by her sister's boyfriend.

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