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Hagerstown man convicted on sex charges

July 25, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

A Washington County Circuit jury on Wednesday convicted a Hagerstown man on sex offense and child abuse charges.

The 36-year-old man, who is not being identified to protect the victim's identity, was accused of sexually abusing his girlfriend's 13-year-old son.

He was charged in September 2002 in an arrest warrant with child abuse by a custodian; second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offense; second-degree assault; and contributing to the condition causing a child to be in need of assistance.

Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley struck the assault and contributing to the condition of a child charges, leaving the remaining four charges for the jury to consider.

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According to testimony from the boy and the lead investigator, the charges stemmed from 30 to 40 incidents of sexual contact over about a year ending in March 2002.

In closing arguments, Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Robert Veil said that while there was no physical evidence of the charges, the boy's accusations were credible because his statements to police were consistent even though he didn't know exact dates.

Defense attorney Eric Reed argued that the boy could have made up the accusations because he was trying to get back at his mother's boyfriend, who was living with the boy at the time.

When the jury returned the verdict, the man sat quietly shaking his head. Beachley ordered a presentence investigation.

The maximum sentence for the convictions is 46 years in prison and $1,000 in fines.

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