Big Pool man pleads guilty in assault case

January 23, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

A man who has a prior sex offense pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a 19-year-old woman in August 2003 on the Western Maryland Rail Trail in Big Pool, Md.

Otis Lee Johnson pleaded to a charge of second-degree assault.

Washington County Circuit Judge Frederick C. Wright III ordered a pre-sentence investigation by the county Division of Parole and Probation and a psychosexual evaluation by Catoctin Counseling Center.

Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said Johnson was given probation before judgment on an indecent exposure charge in 1992.

"I think we are dealing with a problem here," she said.

Wright said the maximum sentence Johnson could receive on a second-degree assault charge would be 10 years in state prison and/or a $2,500 fine. The state dropped a charge of fourth-degree sex offense, which Johnson's defense attorney, John Salvatore, said carries a lesser sentence.


Cirincion said that a 19-year-old woman called on Aug. 30 at about 5:30 p.m. to say she had been assaulted on the Western Maryland Rail Trail.

The woman, who had been in-line skating, said she was walking along the trail when she noticed a man kicking objects as he walked a few yards ahead of her, seeming to slow down his pace. As she tried to put some distance between herself and the man, the woman saw him start to close in on her, Cirincion said. The woman noticed he had his hands down his pants, which were zipped down, but nothing was showing.

When the woman tried to get away, Johnson told the woman not to flee down one route because it was slippery, she said. Johnson then caught up to her and pulled down her shorts, but she got free, Cirincion said.

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