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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Woman Not Rewarded for Kidnapper’s Arrest

Philadelphia (CN) - The NAACP and a Pennsylvania state senator failed to deliver on their promises to pay a hefty reward for information leading to a kidnapper's capture, a woman claims in court.

Identified only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit filed Friday in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, the woman says she risked her own safety to tip the police off about the identity of a woman who snatched five-year-old Nailla Robinson from her elementary school in January 2013.

The information the plaintiff shared with the police resulted in the arrest of Christina Regusters, who was later convicted and charged with the kidnapping and a litany of other crimes, including kidnapping, aggravated assault and involuntary sexual intercourse.

But she claims she never received thousands of dollars in rewards that had been offered on the news by the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP, Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and several other "prominent leaders and citizens" who had "deplored the kidnap" publicly.

Robinson's kidnapping received heavy local news coverage after "she was found half-naked and shivering in a playground" near her West Philadelphia school the morning after her abduction, the lawsuit says.

Just minutes after the girl had been dropped off at school on the morning of the kidnapping, a woman cloaked in a traditional Muslim head and face-covering niqab entered the building and told a teacher that she was Robinson's mother and was signing her out of class, according to an ABC News report.

Instead, the criminal impostor took the young girl "to a nearby home, where she was sexually assaulted repeatedly," the complaint alleges.

After learning of the incident, Philadelphia's political and religious leaders reportedly turned out in force to publicly plead citizens to help police find the responsible parties.

Rewards ranging from $10,000 to $30,000 were offered by now-deceased NAACP President Jerome Mondesire, Senator Hardy Williams, a city labor union, and two Muslim religious leaders, according to the complaint.

That was when the plaintiff says she stepped forward and called the Philadelphia Police with information about Regusters, having been "induced by the promised rewards" to do so.

After being arrested on the strength of the plaintiff's tips, Regusters was convicted and then sentenced to 40 years in prison in October 2015, according to reports.

Since then, the plaintiff says, she's received several rewards promised by the likes of former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, the U.S. Marshals and the Fraternal Order of Police, but all the parties she sued have yet to pay up.

Their failure to deliver on their promises "constitutes a knowing, willful and bad faith breach of contract," she says.

She's seeking unspecified punitive damages for the defendants' alleged fraud and breach of contract, claiming that their failure to pony up the cash caused her to incur debt and other "losses associated with attempting to recover the promised reward."

A spokesperson from Hardy Williams' office said the Senator has worked to fulfill his obligations regarding the reward.

The Philadelphia NAACP did not return a voicemail seeking comment on the allegations.

Also named as defendants in the suit are the Local 332 chapter of the Laborer's International Union of North America, as well as local Muslim Imams Asim Abdur-Rashid and Farid Rasool.

Abdur-Rashid also made news in January for his apparent ties to Edward Archer, an allegedly ISIS-affiliated patron at the Imam's mosque who was arrested for gunning down a Philadelphia police officer in January, reportedly "in the name of Islam." Abdur-Rashid says he knew Archer only by his Muslim name, according to local news reports.

Neither Rasool nor Abdul-Rashid could immediately be reached through their respective mosques for comment.

The Philadelphia Black Clergy and Local Union 332 did not immediately respond to a phone message and e-mail seeking comment.

Plaintiff Jane Doe is represented in the lawsuit by Philadelphia attorney Piayon Lassanah of Page Law.

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