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Trial begins for man accused of raping women in North Hills, Beaver County

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 6:36 p.m.
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Arthur Henderson

A woman told jurors on Tuesday that she pleaded with her assailant not to rape her as he held a gun to her head.

“I kept telling him don't do this to me. Please don't do this to me,” the Hopewell woman said, crying. “I knew what my eyes were seeing, but my mind was not believing it.”

The woman, 50, was the first of Arthur Henderson's three rape victims in January 2012, prosecutors said. Henderson, 39, of Ross is charged with 60 counts, including multiple counts of rape; aggravated, sexual and indecent assault; robbery; burglary; false imprisonment; unlawful restraint; and criminal trespass. His trial before Allegheny County Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel began Tuesday. Henderson is representing himself.

The assaults took place at two North Hills apartment complexes and the Hopewell woman's home. Deputy District Attorney Laura Ditka said during her opening statement that the attacks “shattered the safety and security” of the suburb.

Police said Henderson followed the first victim home from Rivers Casino on Jan. 7, 2012, and raped her at gunpoint in her bedroom while her ex-fiance's son and his cousin were nearby. Henderson forced himself inside the Ross apartment of the second victim, raped her and then bound her wrists and ankles with duct tape.

The woman was stoic when she took the stand and relayed to the jury what occurred. The Tribune-Review does not identify victims of sexual assault.

She choked up when describing how Henderson raped her twice and barely winced when Henderson cross-examined her.

“This is the chair that I was raped on,” she told the jury, pointing at a photo.

The third victim, a resident of the Cascade Apartments in Ross, was in the same room as her 4-month-old child when Henderson raped her, police said, and adjacent to a room where Henderson had tied her fiance's hands behind his back.

Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com.

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