Bay City, MI – A teenage girl testified a 55-year-old man sexually assaulted her, and she did it with some added support in the courtroom: five bikers wearing leather jackets, leather vests with patches and bandanas.
The bikers are representatives of Bikers Against Child Abuse (BACA). They sat in the front row in the gallery of Bay County District Judge Mark E. Janer’s courtroom during the preliminary examination of Ibrahim J. Estephan the morning of Tuesday, Oct. 18.
“The parent or guardian contacts us,” said one of the bikers, who declined to give her name. “We are here to support (the victims) and empower them.”
BACA is a nonprofit organization with chapters in 11 countries. The five who appeared in Ibrahim’s hearing came from Saginaw, Ingham and Wayne counties. A Saginaw County chapter is in the process of forming.
Tuesday’s hearing saw Bay County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Nancy E. Borushko called only one witness to the stand — a 15-year-old who has claimed Estephan had sex with her multiple times in 2014 and 2015. She testified Estephan on multiple occasions took her with him to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Bay City.
On those trips, Estephan would sexually assault her in different vehicles parked in a cemetery near the Bangor Township Walmart, she testified. She added the assaults happened in other communities as well.
The girl said she did not tell anyone about the alleged misconduct until 2016, when she made disclosures to a friend at a summer camp. Defense attorney Bruce K. Mannikko asked her why she told her friend then.
“Because God wanted me to,” she replied.
Borushko then asked her why she didn’t tell anyone earlier.
“Because I was afraid and I didn’t want to hurt my family,” she answered, adding that Estephan was in jail when she told her friend.