West Goshen police charge husband with kidnapping, rape
By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times
A caring friend helped break a cycle of abuse for a West Chester woman trying to avoid being forced to return home in shame to Macedonia, police said.
A criminal complaint filed against Lirim “Lenny” Rufati, 24, of West Goshen Township, accuses him of kidnapping, rape, aggravated indecent assault, and related offenses. West Goshen Township Police said they began an investigation after the victim’s friend called 9-1-1, stating that Rufati had kidnapped his wife and taken her to JFK Airport in New York.
The victim was detained by a Port Authority officer as she was about to board a flight to the Republic of Macedonia, the complaint said. During a subsequent interview with West Goshen detectives, the victim said she was taken to the airport against her will and ordered to board the plane to Macedonia as punishment, the complaint said.
During the interview, the victim, whose limited English required an Albanian translator, said she had confided to her friend, who was also a neighbor, about numerous, humiliating physical and sexual assaults by Rufati. She said the abuse dated back to February 2012, when the couple moved to the apartment in West Goshen Township, which they shared with Rufati’s 5-year-old brother and his father, the complaint said.
The complaint said that the two met in Macedonia through relatives and that a marriage was arranged in 2011. The woman told police that she did not love her husband and that he began to abuse her immediately. She said she could not leave the relationship “because this would bring great shame on her family, and because she was no longer a virgin, she would be outcast by her community,” the complaint said.
When Rufati, who was born in New Jersey, wanted to relocate to the U.S., his wife told police that she was hoping he “would be happier,” but the assaults continued, the complaint said. As the violence escalated, the victim’s friend promised to call police if she heard sounds of an altercation, which occurred Jan. 2, the complaint said.
In response, West Goshen officers transported the woman to a local hotel, the complaint said. Police received a second 9-1-1 call the next day from the friend, who had reportedly received a text from the victim. The complaint said Rufati had tracked his wife to the hotel and abducted her so he could put her on a plane to Macedonia “as a punishment for speaking with police.”
Police said Rufati was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge William D. Kraut, who set bail at $250,000 cash; after failing to post it, Rufati was taken to Chester County Prison to await a preliminary hearing on Jan. 22.