RICHMOND, Va. -- Crime Insider sources confirm sexual assault suspect Atallah Mahases knows two off-duty officers because he provides resources for a food cart the officers run in their free time in the Mosby area.
That is significant because their word apparently carried a lot of weight with a judge Mahases faced during a bond hearing Tuesday.
Court documents state Mahases broke inside a South Richmond apartment last Friday night, groped and sexually assaulted a woman inside.
Those sources say the woman's two-and three-year old children tried to help their mom, but Mahases pushed them down on the apartment floor.
"These are really serious offenses,” said CBS 6 legal expert Todd Stone. “The abduction, this is a maximum life offense. There's a breaking and entering, with intent to commit assault and battery."
Mahases spent the weekend behind bars and court records show when he initially stepped up for bond, it was denied. That is, until the defense called on two off-duty Richmond officers to vouch for the suspect.
"The weight of the testimony from two police officers, even though they're off duty, that's a significant boost for the defense’s case,” said Stone.
But some that work in a strip mall owned by Mahases are worried about the alleged victim. What will she think about the two officers helping a man that she says viciously attacked her?
Richmond Police sent CBS 6 a statement that read:
“The Richmond Police Department is aware and investigating this incident as we would any complaint to the department."
Stone says while helping the defense is unusual, as long as the off-duty officers told the truth, it's not illegal.
"I would think the police have an Internal Affairs division, and when off duty officers testify, I think they would have to notify their higher ups," said Stone.
There are conditions to Mahases's $25,000 bond: no contact with the alleged victim or her family and he had to surrender his passport.
He is due back in court on September 6.