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Man who fondled babysitter sentenced

June 14, 2000

A Hagerstown man who photographed and then fondled a friend's teenage babysitter last fall was given a five-year suspended jail sentence Monday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Gary Lee Knode Jr., 30, of 13718 Pennsylvania Ave., entered an Alford plea to second-degree assault. Judge Kennedy Boone placed him on probation for 18 months and fined him $405.

A defendant who enters an Alford plea doesn't admit guilt but acknowledges that the prosecution has enough evidence to prove its case.

The Sept. 6 incident was investigated by Hagerstown City Police Detective Bill Rourke.

The 15-year-old victim told police she went to a home in the West End to babysit for a 5-year-old child, court records said. The child's parents and Knode were at the house but soon left the girl alone with the child.

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Knode returned to the house alone and asked the girl if he could take a photograph of her, court records said.

The girl agreed but as the "photo session" progressed, Knode began touching her breasts and then her genital area, and then he kissed her, court records said.

At one point, the girl told police that Knode asked her to perform oral sex but she refused.

- Marlo Barnhart

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