A Chester resident pleaded guilty Thursday to twice raping a runaway 13-year-old Chesterfield County girl whom the defendant promised to drive home but instead took to his apartment after finding her alone at a local convenience store.
Foruw B. Choo, 44, who is a native of Yap Island in the Federated States of Micronesia, pleaded guilty to two counts of rape Thursday in Chesterfield Circuit Court. He assaulted the girl twice at his River Forest apartment in Chester after giving her alcohol and ignoring her cries and pleas to stop, according to evidence.
Chesterfield prosecutor Erin Barr said the girl lived with her parents in Midlothian but after an argument she climbed out her bedroom window and ran away about 9:30 p.m. March 27. The family reported her missing the next morning.
The girl told police she first walked to a Walmart on Hull Street Road, then to a 7-Eleven and finally to a Wawa, where she sat down for awhile as she contemplated returning home.
A man she later identified as Choo drove up to the store in a pickup truck and offered her a ride. She initially declined but then got into his vehicle after he promised to drive her back home.
The girl told Choo she was 13 years old, but Choo expressed disbelief at her age, the girl told police.
As they drove on, Choo diverted course, saying he first had to stop by his apartment. When they arrived, Choo encouraged her to go inside and gave her a “brown liquid that burned” when she drank it. He then raped her in two rooms of the apartment, offering her cocaine before one of the assaults, which she declined.
Choo, who worked as a hibachi chef at a local restaurant, left for work the following day and told the girl if she left the apartment he would find her. Frightened, the girl stayed in the apartment until Choo returned.
At one point, the girl used Choo’s cellphone to contact a friend through social media, saying she had been picked up by a man and raped. She also sent a photo she took of the apartment building where Cho lived.
When Choo returned, he took the victim out to eat. While there, Choo advised her that when they returned to the apartment, she would have to sleep in his truck because his girlfriend was coming over that night.
Meanwhile, the victim’s friend contacted police about the message she received from the victim, and with the photo of the apartment building, police responded to the complex and interviewed several residents who lived there. Choo told an officer he had no knowledge of the little girl.
Police returned to Choo’s apartment later that evening after determining that the Internet Protocol address the girl used in contacting her friend came from Choo’s service provider. But Choo again denied that he had ever seen the girl, the prosecutor said.
The next day, on March 29, the girl’s parents responded to the complex to conduct a search of their own and looked into vehicles in the parking lot. They spotted some clothes in a pickup truck – the vehicle turned out to be Choo’s – and when they knocked on a window they discovered the girl inside when she woke up.
Police were called. The girl “wasn’t herself” and appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the prosecutor said.
Choo was arrested and during an interview with investigators, he eventually admitted to having sex with the girl but claimed it was consensual. During the course of the interview, Choo referred to the victim as a “little girl,” the prosecutor said.
Choo, in responding Thursday to a list of standard questions by Chesterfield Circuit Court Judge David E. Johnson, told the court he was not a U.S. citizen. His immigration status, however, was not immediately known, including by his attorney.
After accepting Choo’s pleas and convicting him, the judge set sentencing for Dec. 27.
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