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Preliminary hearing in sex-abuse case is postponed

January 02, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — The preliminary hearing for a Hagerstown man being held on $1 million bond on child sexual abuse charges was postponed last week to allow for review of more evidence in the case, according to Washington County District Court records.

Thomas Leroy Griffin Jr., 31, was charged in November with second-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense and two counts each of second-degree sex offense, third-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct, second-degree child abuse and second-degree assault, court records said.

Griffin was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday, court records said, but no new date was set.

“Additional evidence was recovered and there is a further investigation being conducted by federal authorities,” Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said.

Whether that will result in federal prosecutors filing charges will depend on the outcome of that investigation, he said.

Griffin is in Washington County Detention Center on a $1 million cash bond.

The sexual offenses for which Griffin is charged allegedly occurred between 2005 and August 2010, according to the application for statement of charges filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. In August, the sheriff’s office was contacted by a social worker at the Child Advocacy Center about a possible child sexual abuse case involving a girl who was then 11 years old, the charging documents said.

The girl told investigators that the sexual abuse started when she was about 6 years old while she lived in the Hancock area.

Investigators seized bedding and carpet cuttings in a September search of Griffin’s residence on Scarlet Oak Drive for analysis by the Western Maryland Regional Crime Laboratory, the charging documents said. Saliva for DNA analysis was later collected from Griffin and the girl, the charging documents said.

Tests revealed the presence of spermatozoa on the bedding used by the girl, the charging documents said. The exhibits were forwarded to another lab for further analysis, the documents said.

Also in September, the girl’s father reported his suspicions of sexual abuse to the Baltimore Police Department, the charging documents said.

The girl underwent an examination by a forensic nurse that indicated no obvious physical signs of sexual abuse, although she exhibited behaviors “indicative to sexual abuse,” the charging documents said.

However, the father had a physician examine the girl and told investigators the doctor found physical indications of abuse, the charging documents said.

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