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What you need to know for 05/22/2017

Schenectady man accused of raping and impregnating teen then killing her baby

Schenectady man accused of raping and impregnating teen then killing her baby

A city man raped a girl over several years, fathered a child with her, then killed the newborn baby,
Schenectady man accused of raping and impregnating teen then killing her baby
A house on Albany Street in Schenectady where Herman Robinson allegedly raped and impregnated a teenager, then killed her baby shortly after birth.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

A city man raped a girl over several years, fathered a child with her, then killed the newborn baby, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The allegations come in the form of a new indictment filed against Herman Robinson, 38, formerly of Lenox Road. He faces a host of charges, including murder and predatory sexual assault, that could put him in prison for life if he is convicted.

Robinson is accused of raping the child beginning in 2006 when she was 11 years old and continuing through December 2013.

In March 2010, prosecutors allege, he helped the girl deliver the baby, then took the baby and killed it.

“Our investigation shows us that he, over approximately six years, sexually abused a child known to him,” prosecutor Tracey Brunecz of the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office said. “That individual became pregnant by him and, upon the birth of the child, he killed the baby and disposed of the baby’s body.”

She said no one other than the girl and Robinson are believed to have known about the pregnancy or the birth and death of the baby.

The investigation began in December when the girl disclosed that she had been sexually abused, Brunecz said. She then disclosed to authorities how she gave birth at Robinson’s residence on Albany Street and told them what happened after.

Brunecz on Wednesday would not disclose such details as how the baby was killed, how long after the birth, whether the young mother saw it happen or what happened to the body afterward. The birth and murder are alleged to have happened on the same day.

Robinson appeared Wednesday morning in Schenectady County Court on the indictment. His formal arraignment is tentatively set for Monday. He is being held at the Schenectady County Jail without bail.

Representing Robinson in court was attorney Lauren Mack, who declined to comment afterward.

In court, Mack told visiting Judge Richard Giardino that the morning’s appearance was the first Robinson had heard of the murder charge. She described Robinson as “in shock.”

Brunecz said later that Robinson was aware of the allegations and was questioned about them by Schenectady police after his initial arrest in December. She declined to give Robinson’s responses.

Robinson has been in custody since Dec. 13, when police charged him with raping the girl. They then continued the investigation, resulting in added counts of murder and predatory sexual assault against a child.

Both the murder and predatory sexual assault counts carry the same possible sentence, 25 years to life in state prison. If convicted of both, he could face a total of 50 years to life. If convicted of other rape charges, the minimum sentence could be lengthened further.

Robinson is accused of sexually abusing the child beginning as early as September 2006 at his former residence in Mont Pleasant, according to the indictment.

He is accused of continuing the abuse there until February 2008. The allegations from Mont Pleasant are the basis for the predatory sexual assault count and another count of first-degree course of sexual conduct against a child.

He then is accused of raping her in June 2009 at his former residence at 1205 Albany St., using threats instead of physical force.

Roughly nine months later, on March 11, 2010, the victim delivered a baby girl at the residence, prosecutor said. Brunecz said Robinson was the only person with her when she gave birth, then killed the baby in his home and disposed of her body.

Brunecz said the baby was never named.

She declined to say whether investigators have recovered the baby’s body. But she said the case is based on the girl’s account and other information.

“There is corroborating evidence regarding all of the counts,” she said.

Brunecz also declined to say how the pregnancy was hidden, and whether the victim did so at the direction of Robinson. The prosecutor said the girl was in school.

“We’re still investigating the matter, but our information at this point leads us to believe that nobody was aware that she was pregnant and that she gave birth,” Brunecz said.

Robinson also is accused of raping the girl in September 2012 and on Dec. 1, 2013, both times at his Lenox Road address and again under threat of violence.

Brunecz said the victim is now safe.

“She is a surprisingly strong young lady,” Brunecz said. “Everybody who has met her has made the very same observation.”

City Court records indicate Robinson has lived in Schenectady since at least 2004, when he was charged with criminal trespass.

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