Thursday, March 22, 2007

Biracial family abuses white teenager

Bob Stiles:

Mark Pollard Emily Nicely

Nelson Williams said he heard his caregiver question a teenager about her bruised appearance as she stood outside his Hempfield Township door March 10, delivering his Saturday newspaper.

"What in the world happened to you?" Williams, 66, remembered the caregiver asking the teen.

The teen then broke into tears and recounted that she had been beaten and kept against her will by a Greensburg family for more than six months, said Williams, who invited the teen inside and contacted authorities.

On Tuesday, members of that family, Mark Pollard, 43; his wife, Cynthia Pollard, 41; and children Mark Pollard Jr., 18, Jonathan Pollard, 17, and Tabitha Pollard, 16, all of 506 DelBene Way, were arraigned on charges of kidnapping, aggravated assault, terroristic threats, unlawful restraint, recklessly endangering another person, false imprisonment and conspiracy.

Mark, Cynthia and Mark Pollard Jr. were jailed in lieu of $50,000 bond after their arraignments before District Judge James Albert, of Greensburg.

Jonathan and Tabitha Pollard, both of whom have been charged as adults, are free on $50,000 unsecured bond. Arrangements were being made for them to stay with relatives.

Greensburg Detective Sgt. Henry Fontana alleges that the Pollards were keeping Emily Nicely, 19, against her will since September. She told police that she was beaten with boots, broom handles, a metal pipe, wooden door slats and other objects if she refused "to do chores," according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

Nicely, who had attended Greensburg Salem High School, began living with the Pollards last summer in the hope of finishing school there after her family moved out of the district, Fontana said. School district officials said she was last enrolled during the 2004-05 school year.

The abuse started shortly after she moved in, and the family referred to her as their "slave," according to the affidavit.

"Ms. Nicely was not allowed to be alone or have contact with anyone except the Pollard family. She was not allowed out of the house unless she was with another family member," the affidavit said.

Williams said that after he and his male caregiver invited the bruised Nicely inside, a woman came to the door and demanded the teen come outside. His caregiver -- a tall, muscular man -- refused, Williams said, shutting the door in the woman's face.

"(Nicely) came in and sat," Williams recalled. "I felt bad. She cried. I said, 'Just sit here, stay warm. You don't need to go outside. No one's going to take you.'"

Two other people were outside his home as Nicely was delivering his copy of the Tribune-Review, Williams said.

Cynthia Pollard told police that members of the family had confrontations with Nicely, but only in self-defense, according to the affidavit. She said Nicely fell down while delivering the newspapers, and that was why she was bruised, court papers said.

After state police arrived at Williams' home March 10, Nicely was taken for medical treatment at Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital in Greensburg, and city police were contacted. She is staying with her mother in another county, police said.

Family accused of holding woman captive as their slave

Cops: Pennsylvania Family Held, Beat Teen 'Slave'

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