Two Charged as Wife-Beaters, Chesco DA Says
One defendant is a police officer and SWAT team member, the other is a West Chester University student whose marriage was arranged in Macedonia.
Editor's note: The story below contains language some readers might find upsetting. All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Monday the arrests of two men in separate domestic assault cases.
Lirim Rufati, 24, is a student at West Chester University and lives in West Chester. According to the DA's statement, Rufati began physically and sexually abusing his wife, a Macedonian citizen, after their arranged marriage in Macedonia in 2011.
A neighbor reported the abuse to West Goshen Police, who transported Rufati's wife to a safe house:
[B]ut Rufati tracked her down. Rufati then drover her to JFK airport in New York, where he was attempting [to] force [her] to fly back to Macedonia against her will. A police officer in New York intervened at the the check-in area and provided a refuge for [her].
The criminal complaint describes multiple brutal and demeaning acts Rufati allegedly perpetrated against his wife. Rufati was arrested Jan. 11 and charged with rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping and related charges. He was remanded to Chester County Prison after bail was set at $250,000 cash.
Ernest Manerchia, 57, of West Chester, is a police officer in the City of Chester, Delaware County, and a member of the SWAT team. According to the DA, on the evening of Jan. 11, Manerchia slapped his wife and began to strangle her before she broke free and hid in the bathroom.
Manerchia was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and related charges. Bail was originally set at $7,500 and Manerchia was ordered to surrender all firearms and stay away from the residence.
Manerchia posted bail and surrendered 45 firearms to PSP. However, PSP subsequently discovered that Manerchia had covertly maintained possession of multiple firearms and had returned to the residence to confront [his wife].
His bail was then raised to $350,000 cash, and he was remanded to Chester County Prison.
"These arrests were excellent work under difficult circumstances by the West Goshen Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police," Hogan said in a press release. "Domestic violence cases can accelerate from arguments to homicides in the blink of an eye."