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Rife's mental evaluation complete

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FRANKFORT – The mental evaluation has been completed on the Salyersville native facing federal charges relating to alleged sex crimes involving minors while he lived in Cambodia, though the report will not be available until June.

On May 7, 2019, United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan Jr. filed a status update, noting that the mental evaluation of Micky Rife, age 35, formerly of Salyersville, was to be completed by May 6, with the report available by June 3, 2019. A competency hearing will be scheduled after the report is released.

Last month Rife’s attorney, James M. Inman, also filed a reply supporting his earlier motion to dismiss the indictment, further reiterating that the U.S. does not have jurisdiction in the case, noting that Congress cannot regulate the conduct of Americans abroad, and that while there are some laws dictating actions regarding “foreign commerce,” those laws do not apply to Rife’s case since he was living and working in Cambodia, not traveling back and forth for business. He also argued the alleged crimes are considered noncommercial sex acts, which are not included in federal laws concerning U.S. citizens in foreign countries. Furthermore, Inman concluded that Rife’s indictment must be dismissed because Congress acted beyond its constitutional authority in enacting 18 U.S. Code § 2423 (c), one of the laws cited in the indictment.

As some background in the case, 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. 

Rife 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. 

At press time, Rife remains in federal custody and a jury trial is scheduled in the case for June 25 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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