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Hagerstown man indicted on sex abuse, pornography charges

June 11, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A man charged last year by Hagerstown Police with sexually abusing a minor has been indicted by a Washington County grand jury on an additional 59 counts, many of them related to child pornography.

Joseph Charles Peer, 57, of Hagerstown, was charged in December with sex abuse of a minor, sex abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct, sodomy, perverted practice and photographing or filming a child in a sex act, court records show.

On Friday, the grand jury indicted Peer on multiple counts of sex abuse of a minor, second-degree sex offense, soliciting for child pornography, filming a child performing a sex act and possessing child pornography, Washington County Circuit Court records show.

“Those charges are the result of the forensic examination of the hard drive and other storage devices” possessed by Peer, Assistant State’s Attorney Brett Wilson said of the indictments on the pornography counts.

In the cases of the sexual abuse charges, the victim in the indictments is the same person listed in the original charges filed in December, Wilson said.

The statement of probable cause filed in December stated that a man came to police alleging that, about four months earlier, he accepted an invitation to Peer’s house. Peer showed the man pornographic images on a computer, including some that appeared to be of underage females, the document said.

The man told police that about two months later, he went to Peer’s home again, at which time Peer showed him another photo of an underage girl on his computer, the charging document said.

When interviewed by police, the preteen girl stated that Peer had sexual contact with her on “numerous occasions” and had photographed her on at least three occasions.

Sex abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, court records show.

Peer remained in the Washington County Detention Center on Monday. His bond was set at $1.2 million in December, court records show.

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