By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — A man accused of sexually assaulting a teen girl in a Fort Street convenience store will go to trial before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell.
During a disposition conference Tuesday, Rakeshkumar Patel declined a final opportunity to enter a plea, and a jury will hear charges against the 48-year-old businessman, including two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a juvenile between the ages of 13 and 15. Ewell was chosen during a blind draw of available judges.
A date for jury selection was to be determined after press time Friday.
According to Trenton police, the girl said Patel raped her at Trenton Food Mart, 3720 Fort St., in November. The girl testified during preliminary hearings at Woodhaven’s 33rd District Court that she and other teens considered the Food Mart a hang out destination, and she sometimes did odd jobs there.
Payment for any work was either in cash or with alcohol. The girl testified that on the day before Thanksgiving, Patel — known to area youth as “Rocky” —gave her alcohol to drink while she used a computer in the store’s back room, space that also held a small cot where the alleged sexual assault took place.
Patel also faces charges of criminal sexual conduct of force or coercion, and furnishing alcohol to a minor. He remained free on $75,000 bond, is prohibited from contact with the girl or her family and surrendered his passport.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])