SCHENECTADY – A 19-year-old Schenectady man was convicted Monday of raping a teen outside an elementary school in Niskayuna last year, after prosecutors outlined a case that included incriminating cellphone messages, the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office said.
Tahir Christie was convicted of raping a then 18-year-old he knew in a vehicle on the property of Craig Elementary School in Niskayuna on Aug. 12, officials said.
Acting Schenectady County Judge Mark J. Caruso found Christie guilty of first-degree rape, third-degree rape and second-degree unlawful imprisonment after a bench trial that began earlier this month. Christie earlier waived his right to a jury trial.
“After raping her, this defendant who was her former friend, sent her texts apologizing for what he had done,” Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said in a statement, “Every defendant has a right to testify on his own behalf, but Mr. Christie did himself no favors in his testimony by both denying the rape and denying that the texts were apologies for his behavior, distorting their obvious meaning with nonsensical claims. In doing so he twice victimized this brave woman who had the fortitude to tell Judge Caruso what happened to her.”
Christie faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing. Christie will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release, and prosecutors said they will request a full order of protection for the victim for the maximum period allowed.
Christie and the victim went to the location at night to talk and stargaze, prosecutors said. Once there, Christie physically overwhelmed the victim and engaged in sexual intercourse without her consent.
Christie made apologetic admissions to the victim and another individual through messaging apps, prosecutors said.
The victim disclosed the rape on Sept. 26 to a family member who subsequently brought the victim to the Niskayuna Police Department. The victim’s version was corroborated by phone messages on her and Christie’s phones, prosecutors said.
Niskayuna police Det. Mark Florell investigated.
The messages were recovered from the victim’s phone with the assistance of Lt. Michael McLaughlin of the Schenectady Police Department. The messages from Christie’s phone were recovered based on the work of the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit.
Assistant District Attorney John J. Carson tried the case, while Mark Juda represented Christie.