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Judge gives abuser probation

April 20, 2000

A Hagerstown man who beat up his girlfriend's 7-year-old son last November for wetting the bed pleaded guilty to child abuse Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

David George Grams Jr. was sentenced to five years in prison with all but the three months already served suspended by Judge Frederick Wright.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said the Nov. 12, 1999, incident came to light when Washington County Hospital officials called Hagerstown City Police to report suspected child abuse.

The child, who was taken to the hospital by his mother, told Detective William Rourke he was awakened by Grams, who hit him in the stomach and face for wetting the bed.

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When police questioned Grams, he admitted hitting the child, Cirincion said. He said he was upset about a fight he'd had the night before with the child's mother at their Ross Street home.

Grams, who has lived with the boy's mother for 2 1/2 years and has had a child with her, told police he was sorry he hit the boy.

"The child's mother has allowed Grams back into the home," Cirincion said. "Now all her children are in the custody of the Department of Social Services."

Grams, who could have faced 15 years in prison, has become involved in anger management and alcohol and drug treatment since the incident.

"I'll be going into the in-patient program at the Massey unit soon and then 18 months of follow-up," Grams said.

The Massey unit has a 28-day program for alcohol and drug rehabilitation at the Thomas Finan Hospital in Cumberland, Md.

Noting the presence of "stressors" in Grams' life, Wright ordered supervision throughout the three-year probation period.

- Marlo Barnhart

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