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Rife asks to be released while awaiting jury trial

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LEXINGTON – A Salyersville-native facing federal charges relating to alleged sex crimes involving minors while he lived in Cambodia is now asking to be released on bond while he awaits trial.

In January, Micky Rife, age 35, formerly of Salyersville, was accused by a Homeland Security agent of violating federal laws concerning engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. The criminal complaint filed on January 24 alleges while Rife was in Cambodia teaching, from September 2012 until December 2018, he had sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl, and that an investigation had uncovered other allegations of sexual abuse regarding Rife, dating back to 2013. 

On January 31, Judge Stinnett heard arguments from the United States, asking Rife remain in custody based on the risk of nonappearance and danger. The judge issued an order the following day, stating that substantial foreign ties were not enough reason to list him as a flight risk, however, agreed that he could be considered a danger to the community. 

“While Rife was able to partially attack the reliability of certain allegations during the hearing, such a vast amount of witnesses alongside years of similar reports, at the very least, does not favor release,” Judge Stinnett wrote in his order, in which he granted the U.S.’s motion for Rife to remain in custody. 

He was indicted on February 7 on two counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places with a minor, listing two separate victims, identified in the original complaint as being between the ages of 4 and 8 years old at the time of the alleged assaults. 

Both charges carry a potential penalty of not more than 30 years imprisonment, $250,000 fine, and supervised release for not less than 5 years but not more than life. 

On February 13, Rife’s attorney, James M. Inman, filed a motion for revocation of detention order, asking the court to consider releasing Rife on bond, agreeing to stay with his mother and step-father where the internet could be restricted and electronic monitoring could ensure he doesn’t have access to his alleged victims or the witnesses in the case. He argued against the credibility of the witnesses, stating there were cultural differences and linguistic barriers and minor children, and that no witness statements, apart from the hearsay evidence of the investigator, supported the testimony that he was a danger to the community. 

On February 27 Robert M. Duncan, Jr., the United State Attorney, filed a response to Inman’s motion, reiterating findings of the investigator, describing the interviews with the minor children and other witnesses, as well as alleged lies Rife had made when first questioned by authorities. 

According to the U.S.’s response, Rife left some of his belongings hidden at his brother’s house, including his computer, which he had told investigators he had sold it at the airport in Chicago. Duncan also argued there is no combination of conditions that will reasonably assure community safety.  

“The United States can think of very few scenarios more dangerous to members of the community than releasing a person who despite no college education, purported to be a teacher, put himself in a position where he was in charge of numerous small children, and then sexually assaulted them,” Duncan stated in his response to the motion.

At press time, no decision has been made regarding the motion and Rife remains in federal custody at the Franklin County Regional Jail. Currently, a jury trial is scheduled in the case for April 9 at 10 a.m., to be heard before Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, in Frankfort federal court. The trial is expected to last four days. 

Editor's Note: The indictment or charge of a person by a grand jury or otherwise is an accusation only and that person is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
 

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Heather Oney