Suspected MoCo Child Rapist Fled to Philly

The Mahamu Kanneh child rape case just keeps evolving into the most glaring example of how Maryland’s justice system favors criminals over victims.

Anyone watching Maryland crime news is familiar with the Mahamu Kanneh case. Fox News has by far the most in-depth coverage.

Last month Montgomery County judge Katherine Savage dismissed child rape charges against Mahamu Kanneh, a legal immigrant from Liberia. Kanneh completed high school and attended community college here in Maryland. Savage granted a defense motion to dismiss based on the argument that Kanneh’s right to a speedy trial had been denied because of a three year delay by the court in finding a qualified interpreter, who speaks Kanneh’s obscure West African dialect of Vai. Savage dismissed the case despite the fact that four different interpreters were found, and one had agreed to participate in the trial. An interpreter was even sworn in the day the case was dismissed. Montgomery County court clerk Loretta Knight claimed she was unable to find an interpreter after an exhaustive 47 state search and requests to the Liberian embassy. The Washington Post found three local interpreters who could speak Vai, one conveniently located in Gaithersburg. Why a person who is proficient enough in English to complete high school and take community college courses, needs an interpreter is a bit unbelievable. According to a Kanneh’s neighbor on a scale of one to ten of English proficiency he was, “maybe a seven or eight.”

The Montgomery County States Attorney appealed Savage’s ruling and asked for the same restrictions to be placed on Kanneh i.e. no contact with children, surrender his passport wear a GPS ankle bracelet, and barred from leaving the state without permission from the county’s pretrial supervision agency. Kanneh did not attend the hearing where prosecutors sought to impose these restrictions while the appeal is under consideration.

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Kanneh was located in Philadelphia and tried to escape Philadelphia police as they attempted to apprehend him. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Popkin noted that Kanneh appeared to have moved to Philadelphia saying “He had packed up his belongings.” This is telling because Kanneh’s defense attorney, Theresa Chernosky wrote in a court filing that “Mr. Kanneh has never been accused of trying to leave the area or trying to run away from this charge.” It must have been a shock for Chernosky at the hearing, when Kanneh failed to appear because he had packed up and moved to Philly. I can only imagine the hearing judge reading Chernosky’s words and then looking around the court room for Kanneh.

We can only hope that Kanneh did not molest any other children during his flight to Philadelphia.

We will continue to see more cases like Kanneh until judges start getting tough with criminals.

A case in point are the reprehensible actions of Judge Joseph P. Manck who terminated the parole (Manck originally suspend all but 18 months of a four year sentence) of a man convicted of first degree assault and let him move to Florida, where he is charged with murdering his ex girlfriend. Another of example of Manck’s brilliant jurisprudence is when he sentenced a man, to four months jail time and house arrest, who admitted to molesting his seven year old daughter and two friends. Let’s see here, sentence a man who molested his daughter to house arrest in the same house his daughter lives in!

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