30 con­vic­tions in se­rial rapes of area women

Lower Sau­con Town­ship man now faces hun­dreds of years in prison

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Pamela Lehman

Af­ter de­lib­er­at­ing more than six hours Fri­day, a Northamp­ton County jury con­victed Seth Mull of 30 crim­i­nal charges that he tar­geted mul­ti­ple women through on­line dat­ing apps, then at­tacked, as­saulted and raped them.

In a crowded court­room, women be­gan cry­ing with joy af­ter the jury con­victed Mull, 31, of Lower Sau­con Town­ship, of the ma­jor­ity of the 36 charges against him, in­clud­ing sev­eral con­vic­tions for hu­man traf­fick­ing that could re­sult in a life sen­tence.

Judge Stephen Baratta, who presided over the week­long trial, said Mull faces the pos­si­bil­ity of “hun­dreds of years in prison,” and re­voked Mull’s $1 mil­lion bail. Mull, who did not take the stand in his de­fense, will be sen­tenced later.

As the jury fore­man re­peat­edly read out “guilty,” to the rape, kid­nap­ping, as­sault and hu­man traf­fick­ing charges, Mull had no vis­i­ble re­ac­tion as he hung his head down and stared at the floor. As sher­iff’s deputies hand­cuffed him, sev­eral women called out, “Yes, it’s fi­nally over!”

As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Laura Ma­jew­ski also had tears in her eyes af­ter the ver­dict was read aloud.

“To­day, the vic­tims have clo­sure and will be able to start mov­ing for­ward in their heal­ing process,” she said. “I also ap­pre­ci­ate the fact that the com­mu­nity is now go­ing to be safe and we don’t have to worry about an­other woman fall­ing vic­tim to Seth Mull.”

Mull’s at­tor­ney, Matthew Potts, de­clined to com­ment.

The trial in­cluded emo­tional tes­ti­mony from four women who said Mull at­tacked them at ho­tel rooms in Beth­le­hem and Hanover Town­ship.

The case also in­cluded tes­ti­mony from a fifth woman who

was not among the Le­high Val­ley cases, but tes­ti­fied that Mull raped her in 2014 while both lived in Pitts­burgh.

That woman’s tes­ti­mony was per­mit­ted un­der Penn­syl­va­nia’s rules of ev­i­dence. She said she met Mull on a dat­ing app and he lured her to an apart­ment where he and a man she didn’t know raped her. She sobbed while re­count­ing the pain and hu­mil­i­a­tion she felt dur­ing the at­tack.

Mull “in­structed me that if I were to run or try to alert any­body that this was go­ing on, he would kill me,” the woman said.

In all of the cases, the ac­cusers say Mull claimed them as his prop­erty, as­saulted them phys­i­cally and sex­u­ally and threat­ened to harm them or their fam­i­lies if they didn’t com­ply.

Mull would force the women to do drugs, choke them un­til they passed out and, in some cases, sold them to other men for sex.

Au­thor­i­ties call Mull a se­rial preda­tor who tar­geted vic­tims start­ing when he was 13.

Potts con­ceded that Mull had sex with each of the four women but in­sisted it was con­sen­sual.

Mull was ar­rested Oct. 28, 2017, af­ter po­lice in Beth­le­hem re­sponded to a Hol­i­day Inn Ex­press, where a 25-year-old woman re­ported he raped her, stran­gled her, burned her with a torch lighter and threat­ened to kill her.

The three other cases oc­curred in an eight-week span be­fore that.

In the court­room hall­way af­ter the ver­dict, dozens of women hugged each other, sob­bing and pass­ing tis­sues back and forth.

“The fear that they ever have to run into him in the street and know­ing they are never go­ing to have to see him again gives them the peace of mind,” Ma­jew­ski said. “I think that tonight, they’ll sleep well for the first time in a long time.”

“I think that tonight, [his vic­tims will] sleep well for the first time in a long time.” — As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Laura Ma­jew­ski

Mull

AMY SHORTELL/MORN­ING CALL FILE PHOTO

Seth Mull ap­pears in district court in Beth­le­hem for a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing Dec. 27. Fri­day, al­most one year later, he was con­victed of mul­ti­ple at­tacks on women, in­clud­ing sev­eral con­vic­tions for hu­man traf­fick­ing.

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