A rape trial that would have required testimony from the victim of a brutal sex assault was avoided Tuesday with a plea deal.
Abdirahman Hussein Farah, 21, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for the August rape, which took place at a Mankato apartment.
He also pleaded guilty to a first-degree assault charge for hitting and seriously injuring another inmate in the Blue Earth County Jail in October.
Farah is facing a minimum of nine years in prison when he is sentenced in July. The sentence could be reduced to six years with good behavior. Several felony charges, including charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, were dismissed in exchange for the plea.
If there hadn’t been a potential witness problem, Chris Rovney, assistant Blue Earth County attorney, said he would have taken the rape case to trial and hoped for a more serious sentence. He described Farah’s case as one of the strongest rape cases, as far as evidence is concerned, that he has prosecuted.
“Farah needs to be in prison,” Rovney said Tuesday, shortly after reaching a deal. “There was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he was guilty, and what the victim said happened really happened.”
The victim called Mankato police Aug. 8 to report she had been at a friend’s apartment when she was raped. She said she had met Farah outside Rounders bar at about 2 a.m. that day. She and her female friend had left Farah and another man at the bar, but the two men met them later at her friend’s apartment.
After talking awhile, the woman said she wanted to go to bed. She said she went into a bedroom and locked the door because she was tired and because Farah had been persistently bugging her after he arrived at the apartment.
After the woman fell asleep, she awoke to find Farah naked and on top of her. She said she begged him to stop and attempted to physically defend herself as Farah forced her to have sex. She had injuries from blows to the head and the blood vessels in her eyes burst because she had been choked so hard, the criminal complaint said.
The evidence against Farah was strong because injuries found on him and the victim were consistent with how the victim had described the rape, Rovney said. Farah gave police several stories that didn’t fit the other evidence, which included DNA samples that put Farah in the room.
Farah was charged with assault after he punched Joshua Jay Ratcliff, who was 22 at the time, in the mouth on Oct. 3. Both men were in jail inmates.
Surveillance video showed Farah taking Ratcliff’s seat while they were at breakfast. Ratcliff spoke to Farah briefly before going to another table. Farah then approached Ratcliff three times, speaking to him twice, the video showed. He hit Ratcliff in the mouth three times with a closed fist during the last visit.
Ratcliff, who had to be taken to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester for treatment, lost several teeth and had to have his mouth wired shut to treat a broken jaw. Ratcliff told investigators he still has a numb lip and can’t eat some hard food as a result of the assault and surgery.