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Man raped stepdaughter, 15

August 10, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Man raped stepdaughter, 15



A 39-year-old Hagerstown man was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday for the second-degree rape of his 15-year-old stepdaughter - an encounter that produced a child.

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"The flesh is weak and I was weak," the man said after admitting on the witness stand that he had what he called "an adulterous affair" with his stepdaughter in the spring of 1999.

But he told the jury it wasn't forced. And he insisted she was partially to blame for wearing tight shorts and low-cut T-shirts around the house.

The man's name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim, now 17.

The Washington County Circuit Court jury was out just over an hour before finding the man guilty of all charges.

Judge Don Beachley imposed a 20-year sentence for each of the two second-degree rape convictions, ordering they be served consecutively.

By law, the man will have to serve at least half of that 40-year sentence before being eligible for parole, Beachley said.

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Two 10-year concurrent sentences were also levied for two convictions of sexual child abuse. Convictions for third-degree sex offenses and assault were merged with no additional penalties.

"It was not your fault," Beachley said to the victim who was in the courtroom at sentencing. Earlier Thursday she testified of two incidents where she said her stepfather forced her to have sexual intercourse with him in the Hagerstown home they used to share.

The man has been jailed on $40,000 bond since the charges came to light in June 1999.

Washington County Sheriff's Department Investigator Kenny Barnhart was called to South Hagerstown High School after the girl made the allegations to a school employee and later a Department of Social Services caseworker.

The girl said that between Feb. 20 and March 13, 1999, she was home with her stepfather and a 4-year-old sister while her mother and other siblings were out, court records said.

She said her stepfather pulled her into her bedroom and began touching her breasts. Although she kicked and fought him, he had intercourse with her, according to court records.

She said she didn't tell her mother about the incident because her mother was pregnant by her stepfather and she was afraid her mother would blame her, court records said.

Only when she feared she was pregnant did she tell, court records said. The results of a home pregnancy test were confirmed at the hospital, court records said.

At the time the charges were filed, the stepfather denied any sexual contact with his stepdaughter, court records said.

Francis Chiafari, a molecular geneticist with BRT Labs in Baltimore, testified at Thursday's trial that DNA testing showed the likelihood was 99.99 percent the stepfather was the father of the child born in December 1999 to the teen.

The child was immediately given up for adoption.

The stepfather discounted the DNA test results and again denied being the father of the child.

"She's trying to make me out an evil villain," he said. "I think I was a good father."

The man and the girl's mother have since divorced.

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