Ukrainian man accused of posing as student denied lower bail

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A 23-year-old Ukrainian man accused of posing as a Harrisburg High School student and having sex with an underage girl has been denied lower bail.

Artur Samarin also agreed to waive a preliminary hearing on Tuesday. In exchange, Dauphin County prosecutors did not file a new felony count of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, a charge stemming from his alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Prosecutors also dropped identity theft charges filed by Harrisburg police.

Samarin still faces charges of unsworn falsification, statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, theft and tampering with public records.

“We felt for today’s purposes, with such a low burden of proof, that made a lot of sense for our client to not have that charge hanging over his head, and it made sense to move forward, including getting rid of two of the felony charges, as well,” co-counsel Adam Klein said.

“We are ready to go to trial,” First Assistant District Attorney Fran Chardo said. “If he doesn’t plead guilty as he is charged, then everything, the other charges we withdrew, we forewent, come back into play.”

Police say Samarin was 19 years old when he enrolled as a freshman under the name Asher Potts. His attorneys had asked Dauphin County Judge Deborah Curcillo to reduce bail to $50,000, but Curcillo denied the request Tuesday and let bail stand at $240,000.

“[Samarin] is disappointed, obviously, but we knew that it was a possibility and we will just have to move forward,” Klein said.

“We respect the judge’s decision.It was only our contention that bail, which was set at almost a quarter-million dollars in this case, is inappropriate on these facts,” co-counsel Clarke Madden said. “I cannot think under another circumstance where someone facing charges like this has been held on bail so great.”

“The bail rules say that someone that has used false names, aliases, and someone that is illegally in this country, those are factors the court considered and the court appropriately kept the bail where it was,” Chardo said.

Samarin’s formal arraignment is scheduled for April 29.

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