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Man faces sex offense charges

May 16, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man was being held Wednesday on $150,000 bond on charges that he sexually abused and showed sexually explicit material to a minor visiting his home during a four-month period in 1995.

Austin E. Portner, 42, of 734 Virginia Ave., Hagerstown, was charged Tuesday with second- and third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and contributing to the condition of a child.

Police said a Department of Social Services agent was talking to a 16-year-old girl about an unrelated matter when she revealed she had been abused multiple times from March to June 1995.

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The girl said her father owned a business near Portner's home and she struck up a friendship with Portner and his mother.

She said she would visit with the Portners, play with their dog and eat dinner there.

The girl, who at the time was a sixth-grader at E. Russell Hicks Middle School, alleged that Portner "would undress her and not let her leave his room." charging documents said.

The child told police Portner would force oral sex on her and on other occasions undress her and compare her body to a book on female development.

"Austin told her not to tell anyone of these occurrences. The girl did not because she believed it was her fault," police said in charging documents.

Police said they met Portner at his home and he denied the allegations but allowed police to search his room.

Police said they found the girl's description of Portner's bedroom was correct and in a closet there, they found sex aides and 30 to 50 magazines, which included adult-oriented material and one issue of Teen.

Videotapes marked "porn" were found in the bedroom along with tapes of Barney and Sesame Street, police said in charging documents.

The videotape collection also included documentaries on sex-change operations and child-abuse fantasies, and a primer on grooming victims for child abuse.

Portner was being held at the Washington County Detention Center.

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