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City man convicted of 2 sex offenses

August 15, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A 35-year-old Hagerstown man, convicted of two third-degree sex offenses Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court, could face up to 20 years in prison.

Robert Steven Springer was jailed without bond pending completion of a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Judge Frederick C. Wright III.

Springer, of 11023 Crystal Falls Drive, had been charged earlier this year with fondling a child in 1996 while the child's baby sitter - his girlfriend - was not around.

The child, now 10 years old, testified that Springer touched her genital area on several occasions.

She told Investigator Kenny Barnhart of the Washington County Sheriff's Department that Springer then began having her touch his genital area while she was sitting on his lap in the baby sitter's home.

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"She said she told her mother about the incidents after seeing a show on television that said you should tell an adult about bad touches," Barnhart said.

The child also said Springer was drinking "something yellow" when the incidents happened.

When contacted by police, Springer said he was never alone with the child and that he didn't use alcohol anymore, Barnhart said.

But when confronted by what the baby sitter told Barnhart, Springer admitted he was with the child alone on occasions and that he still consumed alcohol.

"He also said he tickled her on the legs and accidentally could have touched her (genital area)," Barnhart said.

Springer took the stand Thursday and denied that he sexually abused the child.

The jury was out 11/2 hours before returning its two guilty verdicts. Assault charges merged into the sexual offenses and no verdicts were required.

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