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Man pleads guilty to abuse

November 21, 1997

Man pleads guilty to abuse

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A 34-year-old Hagerstown man accused of exposing himself and attempting to force himself sexually on his girlfriend's teenage daughter pleaded guilty to battery Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Judge John H. McDowell gave the man a 60-day suspended sentence and placed him on probation for one year.

The man, whose name was withheld to protect the identity of the victim, also had been charged with one count of child abuse, three counts of fourth-degree sex offense and four counts of second-degree assault, according to court records.

Those charges were dropped in exchange for the plea.

The incident came to light July 13, 1996, when Hagerstown City Police contacted the victim, then 14, who told officers she was afraid to go back into her home.

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The girl told officers the man, whom she considered her stepfather, had struck her in the face during an argument.

A neighbor witnessed the slap, according to court records.

The prosecution agreed to the guilty plea to battery alone, citing difficulties substantiating the other allegations, according to Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Arthur Rozes.

"My concern is that this not happen again," said McDowell, who ordered no contact.

The girl, who is now 15, no longer lives in the home.

Court costs of $1,100 were ordered and the defendant was given until today to come up with at least $200.

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