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Court briefs

September 12, 2005

Boy, 17, admits to sex offenses, is given supervised probation



A 17-year-old Smithsburg boy admitted Wednesday in Washington County juvenile court that he inappropriately touched his 7-year-old niece and 6-year-old nephew while the three youths stayed together during a winter storm.

Citing a positive evaluation from the boy's doctor, the children's mother's plea not to have her brother sent away and cooperation from the boy's parents, Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley, sitting in juvenile court, ordered that the boy serve indefinite supervised probation.

The boy admitted to two counts of third-degree sex offense.

Beachley ordered that the youth have no unsupervised contact with children younger than 16, including his niece and nephew, have no unsupervised use of the Internet, undergo counseling, continue schooling and be home by 9 p.m.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Michelle Flores said that the Children's Advocacy Center contacted police Feb. 14 to report that the children were inappropriately touched by their uncle.

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The boy began touching the two children about three years ago, she said.

She said both children told police that while the three were together during a winter storm, their uncle touched and kissed them inappropriately.

When the 17-year-old boy was interviewed by police, he told them he was sexually aroused when he touched his niece and nephew but knew it was wrong, Flores said.

The 17-year-old's doctor said the youth is "extremely remorseful and took 100 percent responsibility."

Beachley asked the 17-year-old if it was his niece's and nephew's fault that he behaved the way he did. The boy said it was not.

"Are you sorry this happened?" Beachley asked the youth.

"Yes, sir. I am," he replied.

Beachley told the boy that if he were an adult, probation would not be a likely punishment, but since the goal of juvenile court is rehabilitation, probation seemed most appropriate.

He said the boy seems to have a strong support system in his parents, whom he said don't approve of what happened.

"You need to get help rather than get locked up," Beachley said.

- Pepper Ballard




Man pleads guilty to indecent exposure, is given probation



A Hagerstown man was found guilty Thursday of indecent exposure and sentenced to one year of supervised probation, according to court documents.

Forrest Gallatin Stouffer, 28, of 1334 Woodland Way in Hagerstown, pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from a July 7 incident, charging documents state. He was ordered to spend 60 days in jail, which were suspended, and complete 50 hours of community service.

Police said Stouffer, who was drunk and loud July 7, was escorted from the Washington County Hospital emergency room, where he began yelling at police officers. Officers said Stouffer had checked himself into the emergency room to be treated for alcoholism but had to be removed from the hospital because he was being disorderly, documents state.

Officers said as they walked Stouffer away from the building, he was combative. Stouffer walked to the corner of King Street at Antietam Street and exposed himself before urinating on the sidewalk, documents state. Then, Stouffer began yelling at the police officers, according to documents.

- Erin Cunningham

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