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Woman refuses to testify

District judge dismisses rape charges against Shagna Lee Battle and Josue Faurelus.

WILKES-BARRE – A woman who told city police she was raped in a High Street apartment by two men last month refused to testify during a preliminary hearing in Central Court on Tuesday, forcing a district judge to dismiss the charges.

The woman nervously entered the courtroom and walked passed the two men, Shagna Lee Battle and Josue Faurelus, who were seated at a table, before sitting down in the witness stand.

When Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Jenny Roberts asked the first question, the woman said she didn’t want to testify.

“I don’t want to go through with this; it’s too much,” the woman reluctantly said.

Roberts inquired if the woman was threatened and advised that rape and related charges would be dismissed if she didn’t describe what happened to her on June 27.

The woman replied that she hadn’t been threatened by either Battle, 19, Faurelus, 25, or their families and friends who packed the tiny courtroom.

Battle’s attorney, Vito Deluca, and Faurelus’ attorney, Jonathan Blum, asked District Judge Andrew Barilla Jr. to dismiss the case against their clients.

Barilla granted their request, dismissing charges of rape, conspiracy to commit rape and sexual assault against Battle and Faurelus. A charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse was also dismissed against Battle, according to court records.

The woman quickly left the courtroom, ignoring two counselors with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office Victim/Witness Services Unit and walked out of the building.

Police filed the charges against the two men after the woman claimed they raped her inside a High Street apartment on June 27. She was in the apartment hanging out with friends and walked to a second-floor bathroom when she was pushed onto a bed, according to the criminal complaint.

Battle and Faurelus were released from the Luzerne County Correctional Facility on Tuesday afternoon.

“I don’t want to go through with this; it’s too much,” the woman reluctantly said.

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