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Man sentenced in sex offense case

December 04, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown man, convicted of two third-degree sex offenses by a Washington County Circuit Court jury in August was sentenced Thursday to seven years in prison.

Robert Steven Springer, 35, formerly of the 11000 block of 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 Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Kenny Barnhart that Springer began having her touch his genital area while she was sitting on his lap in the baby sitter's home.

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

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.

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.

Springer also said he tickled her on the legs and accidentally could have touched her genital area, Barnhart said.

Springer took the stand at his trial and denied that he sexually abused the child.

The jury was out for 90 minutes before returning its two guilty verdicts. Assault charges merged into the sexual offenses and no verdicts were required.

Judge Frederick C. Wright III also sentenced Springer to a concurrent seven-year term for the second conviction for third-degree sex offense.

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