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Bail raised to $1.2 million on Hagerstown man accused of child sexual abuse

December 05, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man accused of child sexual abuse and making child pornography had his bail raised from $650,000 to $1.2 million at a bond review hearing Monday in Washington County District Court.

Joseph Charles Peer, 56, also is charged with child sex abuse as a continuing course of conduct, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, as well as perverted practices and sodomy, court records said.

On Friday, a co-worker of Peer's went to Hagerstown police headquarters and said he had been at Peer's home about four months earlier, at which time Peer showed him pornographic images on a computer, the statement of probable cause said. The man told police he believed some of the photos were of minor female children, the document said.

Two months after that incident, the man told police he planned to meet at Peer's house again, the charging document said. The man got to the house before Peer and told police that Peer arrived with a girl who appeared to be about 12 years old, the document said.

Peer showed the man another photograph on the computer and the man realized it was the same girl who arrived at the house with Peer, the charging document said.

Friday night, police went to Peer's house where they found the girl, who was turned over to the custody of a relative and then interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center, the charging document said. The girl told investigators that Peer had her perform sexual acts with him over a period of four years and that he took 50 to 100 photographs of her in the nude on at least three separate occasions, the document said.

Police later interviewed Peer and seized computer equipment in which the alleged images are stored.

Assistant State's Attorney Elizabeth Carranza had asked District Judge Dana Moylan Wright to hold Peer either without bail, or raise it to at least $800,000.

Peer has no previous criminal record, Carranza told Wright.

Wright told Peer he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 28.

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