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Sex offender granted home detention

May 08, 2000|By LAURA ERNDE

Because hay-making season is about to start, a judge granted home detention Monday to a 64-year-old Boonsboro farmer convicted of abusing his granddaughter.

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The man, whose name is being withheld to protect the victim's identity, was sentenced in February to four years in prison for third-degree sexual offense.

All but eight months of the sentence was suspended and the defendant has been granted work release from the Washington County Detention Center to drive a dump truck for a Middletown, Md., company.

The man testified Monday he was drunk the day he abused his granddaughter in 1994, when she was 13.

"The only thing I can say is I was wrong in doing it and I'm sorry about it," he told her in Washington County Circuit Court on Monday. "I'd like to do my farm work. I'd like to get on with my life."

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Judge Frederick Wright said the defendant's apology didn't sound sincere.

"Maybe it's just a general lack of care, a general lack of love," he said.

Wright said he decided to grant the home detention anyway, in part because he didn't feel that more jail time would change the defendant's attitude.

Wright also said he was swayed by the plight of the defendant's wife, who testified she is unable to run the 400-acre farm alone.

"I'm trying to do the best I can," she said. But at age 62, it's difficult to deliver the large hay bales to feed the livestock. She said she's had to sell some animals to help pay the bills.

Her husband's income as a truck driver doesn't even pay the mortgage and she can't afford to hire a helper, she said.

The victim, who was called to testify, was crying when she said she didn't object to the home detention.

"My opinion changes every other week. I'm just tired of dealing with this case," she said.

Wright told the victim that she shouldn't feel guilty about the court action against her grandfather because it resulted from his own actions.

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