Lawyer wants rape charges against Seman dismissed

Robert Seman appears in court in Youngstown, Ohio
June 11, 2015 - Seman is charged with ten counts of murder, three counts of aggravated arson, and three counts of aggravated burglary

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County prosecutors believe they still will be able to go forward with rape charges against a Green Township man, even though his lawyer wants the case thrown out.

Robert Seman was back in court Friday morning. He is accused of assaulting a young girl at his home. However, that alleged victim, 10-year-old Corinne Gump, died in a house fire March 30, which was the same day Seman’s trial was set to begin.

Friday morning, Seman’s lawyer asked that the charges be dismissed since the victim won’t be able to testify herself and whatever the girl told others could be considered “hearsay” and not admissible.

“We are going to use the hearsay exceptions we use in every case, statements for purposes of medical treatment and diagnosis, those statements that she made to the nurse and the doctor and the social worker can still come in at trial, even without her,” said Mahoning County Assistant Prosecutor Dawn Cantalamessa.

She cited a similar rape case from 2007.

“The victim had died prior to trial and we used just those statements that she made to everyone, including a 911 call, and we won the case,” Cantalamessa said.

Mahonming County Common Pleas Judge Maureen Sweeney gave prosecutors 10 days to put their arguments in writing. Seman remains jailed without bond. 

The cause of the fire that took Corinne’s life, along with both her grandparents, remains undetermined.

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