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Two men face child porn, sex assault charges

Police allege men had sex with teen who ran away from foster home

June 09, 2010|By DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN -- Two men are facing child pornography and sex offense charges in connection with a teenage girl who had run away from a Hagerstown foster home.

Michael William Zimmer, 39, of 3736 Niner Road in Finksburg, Md., was charged with 65 counts of child pornography in connection with images that police allege he took of himself and another man having sex with the girl. He was also charged with one count of sex abuse of a minor, according to the statement of charges filed by Maryland State Police last week in Washington County District Court.

One count of child pornography was filed for each of 65 images involving the girl that were found on a digital camera, the application for statement of charges said.

Zimmer was being held on $250,000 bond, a Washington County Detention Center official said Wednesday.

A second man, Robert William Mulkern Jr., 43, was charged with one count of child pornography and other sex offenses involving the same minor, according to court documents.

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The Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit was notified by the FBI in October 2009 about a missing 15-year-old Allegany County girl, according to the application for statement of charges. The girl had been placed in foster care in Hagerstown and the mother told authorities she believed the girl had run away with Mulkern, the statement said.

On Nov. 9, 2009, troopers from the Child Recovery Unit met with Mulkern at his new residence at 16409 Spielman Road in Williamsport, the application for statement of charges said. The statement alleged that Mulkern told police he had not seen the girl in months, but they found her in the bedroom of his mobile home.

The girl initially told troopers she was involved in a sexual relationship with Mulkern, but later denied such a relationship in a Nov. 18, 2009, interview at a Montgomery County, Md., juvenile detention center, according to court documents. That interview was requested by the Washington County Child Advocacy Center, the documents said.

On Dec. 4, 2009, the girl's caseworker in Allegany County was informed that the girl was pregnant, the statement said.

Mulkern denied having a sexual relationship with the girl, telling police she had come to his home after running away from foster care, the application for statement of charges said.

On Feb. 14, a former employer of Mulkern called state police, informing them that Mulkern had once rented a room at his business, but had failed to make payments, the application for statement of charges said. That same day, another employee of Mulkern's former boss found a camera at the business and turned it over to police, the statement said.

Among the personal belongings of Mulkern seized at the business were a computer, a missing person poster of the girl, pornographic magazines and women's clothing, court documents allege.

The girl was interviewed again on March 9 at the Washington County Child Advocacy Center, at which time she said she began a sexual relationship with Mulkern within a month of meeting him at the foster home, where she lived from March to May 2009, the statement said.

Sixty-five of the 78 images on the digital camera were of the girl engaging in sexual acts with Mulkern and Zimmer, the application for statement of charges alleged. The pictures were taken on Sept. 18, 2009, and the girl identified Zimmer by name and description, the statement said.

Mulkern was charged in March, according to Washington County District Court records. Washington County Circuit Court records listed the charges against him as four counts of third-degree sexual offense, two counts of unnatural or perverted acts and one count of child pornography, according to Washington County Circuit Court records.

Mulkern was released in April on $75,000 bond, according to a detention center official. He is scheduled to appear in circuit court on July 8 for a motions hearing, according to court records.

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