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Boy, 11, admits to sex assault on seven-year-old

April 11, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

An 11-year-old Hagerstown boy admitted to a second-degree sex offense charge Wednesday in connection with police allegations that a seven-year-old boy was sexually assaulted in December 2001.

The charge stemmed from two incidents in which police said the 11-year-old sexually abused the younger child at St. Catherine's Church in Hagerstown, said Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Susan Lochbaum.

Attorney Wiley Rutledge, who represented the 11-year-old, asked Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley, who was sitting in juvenile court, to allow the boy's parents to sit with him during the proceedings.

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Beachley said it was unusual but he would allow it because the boy, who clutched a worn teddy bear, appeared to be so young.

When questioned by his attorney, the boy said he understood the charge and admitted to it.

The victim was not present in the court room, but the judge gave his father an opportunity to speak. The father declined but said he had submitted an impact statement to the court.

Lochbaum said police were notified by Chambersburg Hospital officials that a boy was being treated there for sexual abuse. The boy told police he was abused by the 11-year-old on two occasions in December 2001.

The 11-year-old's therapist, Marilyn L. Durbin, told Beachley that he was adopted and under her care for difficulties in bonding with his parents. She said he had been sexually abused on several occasions by a male baby sitter.

Durbin urged the judge not to separate the 11-year-old from his parents because doing so would cause his behavior to deteriorate.

She said he would likely respond well to proper treatment.

"I have to believe that the statistics in these kinds of cases don't bode well," said Beachley.

"I know (the boy) and he's not a statistic," Durbin responded.

Beachley said the boy has to understand that there are consequences for his actions and if he were to commit a sex offense as an adult he would face 10 to 15 years in prison.

Washington County Schools Pupil Personnel Worker Eileen Norkunas said the 11-year-old is of superior intelligence but has had learning problems.

"He's a charming child - a very caring little boy," she said.

She met him previously in a veterinarian's office and was impressed with the boy, she said.

she said. He was at the veterinarian's office after rescuing a mouse, said Norkunas.

"He's sweet," she said.

Rutledge said the boy's parents had arranged their schedules so that one parent is with him at all times.

Beachley commended the parents for understanding the gravity of the situation and taking steps to make sure the boy is supervised.

Beachley allowed the parents to maintain custody of the boy pending disposition, which was delayed in order for a sexual offender evaluation and pre-disposition investigation to be conducted.

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