HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Stephayne and Michael Potts called authorities last year after they became concerned about Artur Samarin and his behavior, their attorney said Thursdsay.
“They had great concern about him and the direction they thought that he might be taking,” attorney Corky Goldstein said. “They thought that the time had come that they felt afraid and they wanted to make sure they did the right thing and went to the authorities. That’s all I am comfortable with saying right now.”
Goldstein says the couple met Artur Samarin in 2012 when they were all living at the Towne House Suite and Apartments in Harrisburg. They reportedly built up a friendship, and when Samarin told them he had to find somewhere else to stay, they invited him to live with them.
“They felt sorry for him and they felt he had been persecuted when he was in Ukraine from what he said to them. They actually saw, he lifted his shirt up, they saw bullet wounds and a line on his stomach where [he had been stabbed]. They felt for him,” Goldstein said.
Samarin, 23, told ABC27 a very different story when he called from prison. Samarin says it was Stephayne Potts’s idea to change his age and “adopt” him. Samarin says the couple also helped him get a fake birth certificate and Social Security card to enroll as a student at Harrisburg High School.
“They were very nice to me at first. I had no idea they were going to take advantage of me,” Samarin said. “They took $2,000 and they took all of my documents, all of my paperwork. Everything they ask of me, I could not tell them no. If I say no, they were going to call immigration. Pretty much like a slave driver system, but I didn’t mind as long as I’m going to school.”
“He certainly was not a slave in their home by any shape or form,” Goldstein said. “Everything he has said is just not true. However, even with that, Stephayne has indicated she still loves him … and wishes him well.”
Goldstein says he is waiting to hear if charges will be filed against Stephayne Potts for allegedly helping Samarin obtain fake documents.
“They can’t wait until it’s their time to be able to talk to the media, to talk to whoever, about what they did, and then the public can judge for themselves,” Goldstein said. “I think when they hear the whole story, they’ll realize these are very good people that tried to do the right thing.”
Samarin faces 10 charges including statutory sexual assault for a relationship police said he had with a 15-year-old student. He remains in Dauphin County Prison on $240,000 bail.