Sex assault case leads to arrest

December 16, 2008 6:41:11 PM PST
The sexual assault of a teenage girl appears to be more than police first thought.Investigators announced that the woman charged in the crime may have connections to a suspected prostitution ring, one that could span from Delaware County to the west coast of Africa.

It's a lurid story of sex for sale emerging from a row house in the Cardington section of Upper Darby. Police have arrested 34-year-old Ophelia Cheayee, an immigrant from Liberia who is so far charged here with various sex crimes related to her sexual assault on a 13 year old girl.

Superintendent Michael Chitwood of Upper Darby Police said the girl told them "She was forced to watch pornographic films, and then the owner of the house sexually assaulted her."

This one allleged sex crime in which Cheayee has been implicated may be the tip of an iceberg. Police say she admits bringing the girl to this country and claiming to be the child's moher, but that story has fallen apart.

Upper Darby police are now questioning 5 teenage girls, all under 18 who were found living in the house. Their suspicion: The girls lured here from west Africa and forced into a prostitution ring.

"There were several young females who arrived her from Liberia, no ages, no identification," said Supt. Chitwood. "Prelminiarily we had information this could be a prostitution ring, bringing these young girls in."

Liberia is still trying to get back on its feet after years of civil war. Liberians continue to immigrate to Philadelphia and the surrounding area in huge numbers.

Cheayee was in jail Monday night on $100,000 bail.

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