Man charged with 144 counts of child porn being held on bond

Robert William Mulkern Jr. was returned to Maryland after being arrested in Vermont

November 08, 2012|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Mulkern
Submitted photo

A judge in Washington County District Court on Thursday ordered that a former Williamsport man charged with 144 counts of child pornography and five counts of sexual abuse involving a minor continue to be held on a $1 million bond.

Frederick County District Court Judge W. Milnor Roberts, who was sitting in Washington County District Court, ordered that the bond remain at $1 million for Robert William Mulkern Jr., 46, formerly of 16409 Spielman Road in Williamsport.

U.S. Marshals and Vermont State Police arrested Mulkern on Nov. 1 in Vermont. He was returned to Maryland and has been in the Washington County Detention Center since Wednesday.

Mulkern appeared before Roberts Thursday afternoon via a closed-circuit television feed between District Court and the Washington County Detention Center.

“Have a nice day,” Mulkern said after he was excused from the bond-review hearing.

Mulkern was charged in 2010 with one count of sex abuse of a minor, four counts of third-degree sex offense and 144 counts of child pornography.


Conviction on all counts would carry a maximum prison sentence of 1,505 years and $3.6 million in fines.

The investigation started Oct. 2, 2009, when the FBI and Maryland State Police started an inquiry into the disappearance of a 15-year-old girl from Allegany County, Md., according to the statement of charges.

The girl’s mother said the juvenile ran away with Mulkern, investigators said in court documents.

Authorities said Mulkern and the girl met earlier while he was renting a room in a Hagerstown home.

On Nov. 9, 2009, troopers from the Child Recovery Unit met with Mulkern at his mobile home at 16409 Spielman Road in Williamsport, the application for statement of charges said. The statement alleged that Mulkern told police he had not seen the girl in months, but they found her in the back bedroom.

The girl initially told troopers she was involved in a sexual relationship with Mulkern, but changed her story in a Nov. 18, 2009, interview at a Montgomery County, Md., juvenile detention center, according to court documents. That interview was requested by the Washington County Child Advocacy Center, the documents said.

On Dec. 4, 2009, the girl’s caseworker in Allegany County was informed that the girl was pregnant, the statement said.

Mulkern denied having a sexual relationship with the girl, telling police she had come to his home after she ran away from the place she had been staying, the application for statement of charges said.

On Feb. 14, 2010, a former employer of Mulkern called state police, informing them that Mulkern had once rented a room at his business, but had failed to make payments, the court papers said. That same day, another employee of Mulkern’s former boss found a camera with sexually explicit photos at the business and turned it over to police, the statement said.

Authorities used a warrant to search Mulkern’s room at the business and seized a computer, a missing person poster of the girl, pornographic magazines and women’s clothing, court documents allege.

The girl was interviewed again on March 9, 2010, at the Washington County Child Advocacy Center. During the interview, the girl said she began a sexual relationship with Mulkern within a month of meeting him in the spring of 2009, the statement said.

Sixty-five of the 78 images on the digital camera were of the girl engaging in sexual acts with Mulkern and one of his friends, Michael William Zimmer, formerly of Niner Road in Finksburg, Md., the application for statement of charges alleged. The pictures were taken on Sept. 18, 2009, and the girl identified Zimmer by name and description, the statement alleged.

Zimmer pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in October 2010. He was sentenced to serve 30 years in prison with all but five years of the sentence suspended, according to published reports.

State police arrested Mulkern in March 2010, according to published reports. A $75,000 bond was posted for his release a month later. He failed to show up for trial.

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