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Two charges dropped against Boonsboro man in rape case

March 05, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Boonsboro man accused of sexually abusing a girl in 2007-08 will not be tried on the two charges for which he could have faced a sentence of life in prison.

Before the trial of Gerald Wayne Hubbard got under way Monday in Washington County Circuit Court, the state dismissed charges against him of first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense.

Because those charges carry possible life sentences, the defense and the state are allowed additional strikes during jury selection — 20 for the defense and 10 for the state, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said after court concluded.

The number of people in the jury pool was limited and it was possible there would not be enough to serve on a jury if all the strikes were used, Wilson said.

“It was either have the case continued until who knows when or proceed” without the two charges, Wilson said.

Hubbard, 68, of 20726 Park Hall Road, is charged with second-degree rape, two counts of sex abuse of a minor, second- and third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and second-degree child abuse, court records show. He has been out on bail since shortly after charges were filed in 2010.

Wilson told the jury in his opening statement that Hubbard struck up an Internet relationship with a Tennessee woman, Christy M. Woods, in 2006. In 2007, Woods traveled to Maryland with the alleged victim, a girl who is now 9 years old.

Woods and the girl were put up “in a broken-down Winnebago” on a property Hubbard owned on Taylors Landing Road near Sharpsburg, and lived there until Nov. 30, 2008, Wilson told the jury. Back in Tennessee, the girl “made a disclosure” to a therapist in 2010 that led to an investigation of Hubbard, he said.

Hubbard and Woods did meet on the Internet, but when she and the girl arrived in Maryland, “they were not invited by Mr. Hubbard,” defense attorney Thomas Pavlinic told the jury in his opening statement. In an effort to help them, Hubbard allowed them to stay on his property, he told the jury.

After Woods and the girl returned to Tennessee, there were no allegations of sexual misconduct against Hubbard until 2010, Pavlinic told the jury.

Woods and Hubbard were charged by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in July 2010, court records show. Woods, who also was charged with sexually abusing the girl, pleaded guilty in May 2011 to second-degree child abuse, court records show.

Judge Daniel P. Dwyer, who accepted the plea, deferred sentencing until after Hubbard’s trial. As part of the agreement, the other charges against Woods, 35, of no fixed address, were placed on the inactive docket and she agreed to testify against Hubbard, Wilson said at the time.

Hubbard’s trial before Judge Donald E. Beachley is scheduled to last five days.

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