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Two Charged as Wife-Beaters, Chesco DA Says

One defendant is a police officer and SWAT team member, the other is a West Chester University student whose marriage was arranged in Macedonia.

Editor's note: The story below contains language some readers might find upsetting. All defendants are innocent until proven guilty.

Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan announced Monday the arrests of two men in separate domestic assault cases.

Lirim Rufati, 24, is a student at West Chester University and lives in West Chester. According to the DA's statement, Rufati began physically and sexually abusing his wife, a Macedonian citizen, after their arranged marriage in Macedonia in 2011. 

A neighbor reported the abuse to West Goshen Police, who transported Rufati's wife to a safe house:

[B]ut Rufati tracked her down.  Rufati then drover her to JFK airport in New York, where he was attempting [to] force [her] to fly back to Macedonia against her will.  A police officer in New York intervened at the the check-in area and provided a refuge for [her].

The criminal complaint describes multiple brutal and demeaning acts Rufati allegedly perpetrated against his wife. Rufati was arrested Jan. 11 and charged with rape, aggravated assault, kidnapping and related charges. He was remanded to Chester County Prison after bail was set at $250,000 cash.

Ernest Manerchia, 57, of West Chester, is a police officer in the City of Chester, Delaware County, and a member of the SWAT team. According to the DA, on the evening of Jan. 11, Manerchia slapped his wife and began to strangle her before she broke free and hid in the bathroom. 

Manerchia was arrested by Pennsylvania State Police and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and related charges. Bail was originally set at $7,500 and Manerchia was ordered to surrender all firearms and stay away from the residence.

Manerchia posted bail and surrendered 45 firearms to PSP. However, PSP subsequently discovered that Manerchia had covertly maintained possession of multiple firearms and had returned to the residence to confront [his wife].

His bail was then raised to $350,000 cash, and he was remanded to Chester County Prison.

"These arrests were excellent work under difficult circumstances by the West Goshen Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police," Hogan said in a press release. "Domestic violence cases can accelerate from arguments to homicides in the blink of an eye."

Carol Meerschaert, MBA, RD January 15, 2013 at 12:29 AM
"A neighbor reported the abuse to West Goshen Police." Thanks to the neighbor who acted, saving a life.
Susan January 15, 2013 at 03:02 AM
Curious to see if he's here on a student visa. If so, it should be revoked. Maybe he should be the one sent back to Macedonia. And good riddance. And good on the neighbor who made that call. Too many times, people don't act. Thankfully in this case, someone did.
Pete Kennedy (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Rufati is an American citizen; his wife is a Macedonian citizen. One disturbing excerpt (of many) from the criminal complaint: "[She stated that she] could not leave him because this would bring great shame on her family, and ... she would be outcast by her community."
Katie Hynes January 15, 2013 at 03:12 AM
These are the stories that make re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act so important, yet the Republicans in the House refuse to pass it......All it does is provide funding for safe houses, counseling and help to victims of domestic abuse. Since the 1990s it has passed with bipartisan support. Until now.
David Curran January 15, 2013 at 05:39 AM
Good point Katie.
Tony Malvern January 15, 2013 at 01:01 PM
45 firearms !?! plus multiple secret ones !!!
Holly Cokeley January 15, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Things have come a long way in the past 20 yrs! I'm thankful this is an issue that is finally taken seriously and gotten press and respect and people are willing to get involved. Years ago the woman was not often believed and had to plead her case in court only to have the court system fail her and perpetrator set free with no consequences.
Pete Kennedy (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 04:47 PM
A comment from Tony was deleted for violating our terms relative to obscene language. Tony, feel free to clean it up and re-post.
Caren Kolter January 15, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Seriously, over 45 firearms????
Joe Phoenix January 15, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Now I have to agree with this one. 45 firearms? And then some? Hmmm I am beginning to think sleeper cells.
1 January 15, 2013 at 08:10 PM
My guess is Ernest Manerchia is one of these guys always ranting about his"2nd amendment right to bare arms". The kind of nuts that would want 45+ guns (and beat up their wives to boot) are exactly the type who should NOT be allowed to own any fire arms. Clearly this loser chose a profession where he would have easy access to guns and the ability to skirt the law. Thank god someone call the cops on him. My guess is he doesn't leave protective custody during his stay in prison. These guys are never as tough without the badge and gun.
Sue January 15, 2013 at 09:28 PM
Did you know that in Pennsylvania there is no such thing as self-defense? So, when my husband beat me up, and I pepper sprayed him in self-defense, I was arrested, too? We were both "guilty" in the eyes of the judge!
patchsux January 15, 2013 at 10:22 PM
the guy is a cop he will not go to jail his union will fight this till the end. there thought process is screw her he is a cop. and judges for the most part give the police a free pass on most things. i worry about being a victim of the police just as much as being a victim of a thug, at least there is a chance that the thug will go to jail
Tony January 15, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Pete: There is nothing to clean up as I intentionally used an " * " to self-censor and thus "soften" the harshness of my choice of terms. Had I known that you and this site infringe on people's right to freedom of speech, I would not have wasted my time. Furthermore, I specifically say infringing on my freedom of speech because you, Pete, could have simply further censored the "obscene language" by replacing the remaining letters with " * ".
Ed Roper January 16, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Well said.
David Curran January 16, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Strong language there Tony (your deleted comment is still viewable by highlighting your name). I was kind of hoping you would have been over the election and all by now. Who could have thought that both Aiken and Murdock would both lose. LOL

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