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Man gets 3 years for sex with child

April 20, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

A Funkstown man who admitted having sex with a child who was only 11 when the relationship began got a three-year prison sentence Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Joseph James Smith, 25, of 43 Frederick St., pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree sex offense.

He had been charged with two counts each of second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense and child abuse; three counts each of second-degree assault and contributing to the condition of a child; and one count of second-degree sex offense.

Judge Fred Wright, who suspended seven years of a 10-year sentence, placed Smith on probation for five years and ordered him to register as a sex offender.

"I'm sorry for all the trouble I've caused," Smith said.

"Trouble for whom ... you?" Wright asked.

"Everybody," Smith answered.

According to Washington County Sheriff's Investigator Kenny Barnhart, the case came to his attention in late August from a Department of Social Services caseworker.

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The victim, now 13, told her sister that Smith had sexually assaulted her in the spring and summer of 1997, according to court records.

The sexual activity began with touching and progressed to intercourse on at least 10 occasions at two of her former homes in the Hagerstown area, court records said.

After the child was placed in foster care in September, 1997, the contact ended, court records said.

When she returned to live with a family member last August, Smith allegedly began touching her again and attempted to have intercourse but she said no, court records said.

It was then she reported the previous sexual contact to authorities, court records said.

- Marlo Barnhart

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