posted on wed, feb. 18, 2004

man held for trial in attack on girl in phila. library
brian mccutcheon, 23, waived a hearing. he faces charges that include attempted murder.

inquirer staff writer

a man accused of attempting to rape and kill an 8-year-old girl in a center city library on feb. 7 was held for trial yesterday after he waived a preliminary hearing.

brian mccutcheon, 23, a homeless man who did not make $1 million bail and is being held, will face trial on charges of attempted murder and a litany of other offenses.

the victim, who was attacked in a women's restroom at the independence branch of the free library, remains at children's hospital of philadelphia. her condition was upgraded last week from critical to stable. a hospital spokeswoman said this week that no further information would be made public about the girl's condition.

the girl, a regular visitor to the library, had gone to the independence branch on seventh street near market with her grandmother and two other children. she was found by another child wedged between a toilet and wall, unconscious and partially undressed.

elliott shelkrot, director of the free library of philadelphia, said on monday that an education fund for the girl has been set up by library officials and several community groups.

mccutcheon also was a regular visitor at the independence branch.

library officials said mccutcheon had been barred from the central branch last year for using computers to look at pornography.

in 2001, mccutcheon pleaded guilty to simple assault in an attack on a 9-year-old girl. that attack had occurred in july 2000 in a restroom at the venice island recreation center in manayunk.

mccutcheon, a slight man wearing a sweatshirt and baggy blue pants, told common pleas court judge joseph c. bruno during a brief court appearance yesterday that he wanted to forgo a preliminary hearing.

under questioning by his lawyer, public defender everett gillison, mccutcheon said he had been treated in the past for schizophrenia. asked about his current state of mind, he said he was feeling "depressed."

mccutcheon is being held in the health services wing of the philadelphia detention center.

assistant district attorney deborah harley itemized a list of charges against mccutcheon that included attempted rape, attempted sexual assault, aggravated assault, sexual abuse of children, unlawful restraint, and indecent exposure.

outside the courtroom, gillison was noncommittal when asked if mccutcheon might plead guilty to some of those charges. "we'll see," he replied.

contact staff writer l. stuart ditzen at 215-854-2431 or

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