Man sentenced in sex offense

February 24, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Man sentenced in sex offense

A Sharpsburg man was sentenced to four years in prison Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court for forcing a pre-school age girl to touch his genital area five years ago.

Adam Lowell Ingram, 35, who pleaded guilty last November to a third-degree sex offense, faced the parents of the victim and tearfully begged their forgiveness.

The child's parents asked Judge John H. McDowell to sentence Ingram to at least five years in prison - the number of years their daughter, then 4 years old, kept secret the horrors of that 1992 incident.


"He forced her to perform oral sex on him, your honor,'' the father said in November when the plea was taken. "It was the most heinous thing that could happen to a child who hadn't even entered school yet."

McDowell sentenced Ingram to the maximum 10-year term, but suspended all but four years. Four years of probation will follow incarceration.

Ingram also was fined $1,000 and ordered to continue intensive counseling and to have no contact with the victim or her family.

"This child's innocence has been ripped away from her," McDowell said.

Maryland State Police in 1997 charged Ingram with child abuse and two sexual offenses, including oral sex with the girl. All but the third-degree sex offense were dropped.

Ingram, of 2238 Dargan School Road, has been in jail since November and will be given credit for time served.

The incidents occurred between February and July 1992, court records said.

The incidents came to light last summer when the child, who is now 10 years old, was overheard by the mother of another child as she talked about the encounter, court records said.

That woman contacted the child's mother and then called police.

Ingram told police it could have happened because he was drinking at the time.

Defense attorney John Salvatore said Ingram has taken responsibility since the crime came to light.

The child's mother told McDowell Tuesday that her daughter has had bad dreams for five years, dreams she told her mother she couldn't remember.

"She was threatened into silence," the mother said. "Now she has told me her dreams were that Ingram was chasing her."

Salvatore said Ingram was himself abused, beginning when he was 6 years old.

Dr. Charles Cantone told McDowell that he has been treating Ingram for a year, beginning a five-year program of group and individual therapy.

"He isn't a pedophile ... he's not predatory," Cantone said. "He has trauma repetition" because of his own early trauma.

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