Judge sets bail at $150,000 for 73-year-old charged with child rape

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ST. CROIX - The 73-year-old man arrested during the weekend is accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl and remains jailed on $150,000 bail.

A teary Andrew Edward, of Castle Burke appeared before Magistrate Jessica Gallivan on Tuesday, and with the aid of a French Creole interpreter, he was advised of his rights on charges of first-degree aggravated rape and first-degree unlawful sexual contact, both as acts of domestic violence.

Edward was dressed in a Bureau of Corrections red prisoner's uniform as he entered the courtroom. He walked slowly and kept his head low, as a half-dozen of his family and friends spoke amongst themselves in patois. He avoided eye contact with them, even as he expressed difficulty understanding the interpreter, and his family told the court that the creole was a different dialect.

Through a very labored process, Gallivan was able to advise Edward of his constitutional rights and also advised him that if he is tried and convicted on the rape charge he would be exposed to a minimum of 15 years and up to any infinite number of years in prison. Edward also could face up to an additional 15 year in prison if convicted on the sexual contact charges, the judge said.

Edward expressed having a hard time understanding the charges and the interpreter and sobbed as he said he was not agreeing with the court's explanation of the charges.

After conversing with his attorney and the interpreter at length, Edward told the could that he understood, but was not guilty.

According to the police report prepared by V.I. Police Detective Gregory Charlery, about 2:30 p.m. Saturday, a woman reported to police that she walked in and found Edward having sexual intercourse with the girl.

She said she called police to notify them of the incident, and the girl was taken to the emergency room at Luis Hospital, where she was examined. The girl complained of pain in her genital area and her head, according to the report.

Charlery said Edward waived his right to remain silent and agreed to give police a statement, in which he told police that he was with the girl during the afternoon. He told police he was playing games with her and during that time the string that he uses to keep his pants up, came loose and his pants fell to the ground. He said the woman walked in at the same time and assumed he had been molesting the girl.

Edward told police he did not have any sexual contact with the girl.

Edward was arrested at 9:45 p.m. Saturday, and no bail was set until the hearing on Tuesday.

Assistant Public Defender Leslie Davis asked the court to set bail at $1,000, saying that the statutory bail for domestic violence cases is $1,000. She said Edward had no prior contact with the justice system and should not be considered a danger.

Assistant Attorney General Zuleyma Chapman objected to the request and asked that bail be set at $75,000.

Gallivan said while the arrest is the first contact with the justice system for Edward, she had to look at the seriousness of the charge and the weight of the evidence collected against him at this point. Gallivan set bail at $150,000.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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