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Man gets suspended sentence for sex with girl, 14

August 29, 2000

Man gets suspended sentence for sex with girl, 14



A 29-year-old Hagerstown man charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl in August 1999 was given a 10-year suspended prison sentence Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court.

Michael Shawn Wolford, formerly of Frederick Street, entered an Alford plea to one count of third-degree sex offense.

Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

According to court records, Wolford had been charged with second-degree rape, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and second-degree assault. All were dropped in exchange for the plea to the third-degree sex offense.

The incidents allegedly occurred in August when a number of people, including Wolford and the 14-year-old girl, were swimming in Antietam Creek.

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The two of them later left the swimming group in Wolford's car and drove around before stopping, court records said. The girl said it was then that Wolford forced himself on her sexually.

Dropped off at a friend's house, the girl didn't tell anyone about the incident until September 1999 when she confided in a teacher at her school, court records said.

Circuit Judge Kennedy Boone said Tuesday he received a letter from the victim's mother who said her daughter was hesitant to testify about the incident .

"The mother says they are satisfied with the plea agreement," Boone said.

Under that agreement, Wolford won't have to register as a sex offender.

Wolford was placed on probation for three years and ordered to pay $845 in court costs by February 2001.

"I've working to pay everyone back and trying to raise my son," Wolford said.

- Marlo Barnhart

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