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Man faces 10 years for child sex abuse

April 29, 1999

A 40-year-old Hagerstown man accused of forcing oral sex on his pre-teen stepdaughter for more than a year pleaded guilty to a third-degree sex offense Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

The man, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim, appeared before Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick Wright.

He was jailed pending completion of a pre-sentence investigation ordered by Wright.

He faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum agreed to drop additional charges of child abuse by a parent, two counts of second-degree sex offense, one count of fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and contributing to the condition of a child in exchange for the plea.

"This was the systematic abuse of a child for over a year," Lochbaum said.

According to Hagerstown City Police reports, the victim, now 12, told her mother in September 1998 that her stepfather had been forcing oral sex on her throughout 1997 and into early 1998.

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She said she hadn't told before because her stepfather had warned her that if he went to jail, her little brother wouldn't have a father, police reports said.

When the girl moved away with her other siblings because the mother and stepfather had separated in June 1998, the girl told her mother, police reports said.

The man was interviewed in his home by police in 1998 and at first denied the allegations, according to police reports.

Later he admitted one incident but denied the others, police reports said.

- Marlo Barnhart

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