One Conviction, One Mistrial In OC Rape Case

SNOW HILL – A pair of Ocean City men arrested on rape charges in April after an alleged sexual assault on a 17-year-old girl in a resort apartment had their day in Worcester County Circuit Court this week with varying results including a mistrial for one defendant and a two-year jail sentence for the other.

Semeredin Bederu, 25, and Senay Haile, 26, both of Ocean City, although each has other known addresses listed in court documents, appeared in Circuit Court this week on consecutive days for separate trials to face rape charges in an alleged sexual assault on a Cumberland, Md. girl on April 3. Bederu, whose trial was held on Tuesday, had his case result in a mistrial after a jury returned not guilty verdicts on both a second-degree rape charge and a second-degree assault charge after deliberating for nearly three hours.

Haile entered a binding plea of guilty to a charge of third-degree sex offense amended from a second-degree rape charge in the plea deal. Haile was sentenced to two years in jail and ordered to return to his native Canada after serving his sentence. As a condition of the plea agreement, Haile will not be required to register as a sex offender.

The incident began with a chance meeting on the Boardwalk and ended with the victim joining a group of men at a party in a downtown apartment complex. The victim reportedly drank with the group at a 6th Street apartment before the party later moved to Jocelyn Manner on 8th Street. According to police reports, the victim eventually passed out and was place in a bedroom in the apartment. It was then, according to witnesses, that Bederu allegedly went into the bedroom and had intercourse with the passed out victim.

During the night, the victim became ill and started to vomit before she was moved to a sofa in the living room. Around 8 a.m., the other man charged in the rape case, Haile, allegedly tried to have sex with the still passed out victim, who suddenly awoke and began screaming. She then fled the apartment and returned later with a group of male friends to confront her alleged attacker.

Shortly before 11 a.m. that day, Ocean City Police were called to the scene for a reported disturbance at the apartment where the victim’s friends were confronting her alleged assailants. When police arrived, the victim told them about the attempted rape by Haile, but it wasn’t until detectives interviewed witnesses at the party when they found out about Bederu’s alleged sexual assault on the victim hours earlier. Bederu and Haile were later arrested and charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault.