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Man convicted of sex offense

December 18, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

A Hagerstown man was convicted of a sexual offense against a 17-year-old girl Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

As part of a plea agreement, Samuel O. Thorne, 22, of Hagerstown, entered an Alford plea to a charge of fourth-degree sexual offense.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges the state has evidence to gain a conviction, but does not admit guilt.

The charge was one of several stemming from an incident on Jan. 23, 1997, in a room at Motel 6 in Halfway, according to court records.

The girl, who did not appear as a witness, told police that Thorne asked her to come with him to the room to talk about an old girlfriend, according to court records.

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Once in the room, she told police, he started kissing her and, when she told him to stop, took off her clothes and touched her genital area.

She reported the alleged incident to a desk clerk at the motel, according to court records.

Thorne originally was charged with second-degree rape, first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, two counts of second-degree sexual offense, third-degree sexual offense and fourth-degree sexual offense, according to court records.

The state dropped the other charges in return for the Alford plea.

The young woman's mother and stepfather protested the plea agreement, saying that Thorne would pose a threat to their daughter and others and should serve more time in prison.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III sentenced Thorne to a year in jail, suspended six months of the sentence, and gave Thorne credit for six months served.

Wright also sentenced him to two years probation, the first year supervised.

Thorne told the judge he lived in Virginia Beach and New York City before moving to Hagerstown.

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