Man charged with child pornography waives preliminary hearing

July 02, 2010|By DON AINES

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A Finksburg, Md., man charged with 65 counts of child pornography will have his case transferred to Washington County Circuit Court after waiving his preliminary hearing Thursday in Washington County District Court.

Michael William Zimmer, 39, of 3736 Niner Road, was charged in May in connection with photographs that police allege he took of himself and another man having sex with a teenage girl who had run away from a foster home in Hagerstown, the application for statement of charges said. One count was filed for each image police found on a digital camera, the application said.

District Judge Mark D. Thomas denied a request by attorney Bernard Semler that Zimmer's bail be lowered to $100,000 from $250,000. Zimmer had a steady employment record and would live with his parents if he made bail, Semler said.

Assistant State's Attorney Leon Debes opposed the request.

"I believe the bond ... is reasonable given the circumstances," Thomas said.


A second man, Robert William Mulkern Jr., 43, formerly of 16409 Spielman Road, Williamsport, was charged with one count of child pornography, two counts of perverted practices and three counts of third-degree sexual offenses involving the same girl, who was 15 years old at the time, according to court records. Mulkern was released in April on $75,000 bond and is scheduled to be in Circuit Court on July 8 for a motions hearing, records show.

The Maryland State Police Child Recovery Unit was notified by the FBI in November 2009 about the missing Allegany County girl, records show. The girl had been placed in foster care in Hagerstown and her mother told authorities she believed her daughter had run off with Mulkern.

The girl was found in November 2009 at Mulkern's Williamsport home by troopers from the Child Recovery Unit, the application said. The girl later was found to be pregnant, records show.

In February, a former employer told police that Mulkern had once rented a room at his business but failed to make payments, according to court records. Another employee of Mulkern's former boss found a camera among the items Mulkern left behind, records show.

Sixty-five of the 78 images on the camera showed Zimmer and Mulkern in sexual acts with the girl, the application said. The photos were taken Sept. 18, 2009, records show.

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