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Man gets 18 months for child sex abuse

July 08, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

A Hagerstown man was sentenced to 18 months in prison for having sex with a 12-year-old girl twice in 1997 while she was baby-sitting.

George Gilbert Kidwell II, 26, of 1025H Noland Village, entered an Alford plea to a third-degree sex offense charge before Washington County Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone.

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

The victim, who attended the hearing with her parents, wrote a letter to the judge, describing how the incidents have affected her life. The letter wasn't read in court.

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The girl's mother told Boone that her daughter had to be taken out of school, and remains in counseling and on medication.

"She won't socialize with her friends," the mother said. "It's been hard on all of us."

Boone agreed to a plea agreement, which was worked out by the prosecution and the defense and accepted by the victim and her family.

That agreement called for a 10-year prison sentence with all but 18 months suspended. Boone insisted that the sentence be served in prison rather than at the local jail.

"You admitted what you did but that doesn't undo the damage," Boone told Kidwell, who acknowledged to police last fall that he had sexual intercourse and oral sex with the victim on two occasions.

Boone said that even though the sex was consentual, the girl was too young to legally give consent under Maryland law.

Once released from prison, Kidwell will be on supervised probation for 18 months and must have no contact with the victim.

Boone ordered him to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and to undergo regular testing to check for compliance.

Kidwell must register as a convicted sex offender.

In exchange for Thursday's plea, charges of second-degree rape, second- and fourth-degree sex offenses, contribution to the condition of a child and perverted practices were dropped.

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