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Hagerstown man accused of assaulting preteen is acquitted of second-degree rape

The girl told the judge she had met Keneatha L. Pryce through Facebook

March 20, 2013|DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man charged with sexually assaulting a girl he met on Facebook was found not guilty Tuesday of second-degree rape by a jury in Washington County Circuit Court.

Keneatha L. Pryce, 20, was charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault in the incident, which occurred Jan. 29, 2011, although the charges were not filed until 2012.

During Tuesday’s trial, Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. granted a motion by defense attorney Lewis Metzner to drop the second-degree assault charge.

The girl, who was not yet a teenager when the incident occurred, testified she had met Pryce, who was 18 at the time of the incident, through Facebook and arranged to meet him at a neighborhood store. Both lied about their ages on Facebook, with her telling Pryce she was 15 and Pryce saying he was 15, she testified.

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They went to his home, where he took her upstairs and they had sex, she testified.

The girl testified she initially denied to her mother having sex with Pryce and that, when her mother took her to the hospital emergency room, she refused to be examined to determine if she had engaged in sexual intercourse.

The mother testified that her daughter was staying at another relative’s the night of the incident, went out with a friend and failed to return to that relative’s house. A missing person report was filed with Hagerstown police, but the mother testified she was able to find Pryce’s phone number in her daughter’s diary and find where he lived.

The mother testified that Pryce’s mother arrived at the house and let her in. Once inside, the mother found the girl in a bedroom closet, she testified.

Pryce and the daughter confessed to having sex a few days later in a meeting between the families, the mother testified.

There were inconsistencies between the testimony of the mother and the investigator, Hagerstown police Detective Shane Blankenship.

Blankenship testified that he met with the mother and daughter a few days after the incident and scheduled a formal interview, but that they canceled that meeting and did not reschedule.

Blankenship testified that the girl’s mother had tried to file criminal charges against Pryce in 2011 and that the case was forwarded to the State’s Attorney’s Office. After that he was asked to make inquiries into the incident, he testified.

More than a year later, the mother called asking about the case, and an interview was set up, Blankenship testified.

In his investigative report from the May 2012 interview, Blankenship wrote that the mother told him that she had called him in February 2011 and told him then that she had physical evidence of the assault, blood-stained underwear.

On cross-examination by Metzner, Blankenship testified that he had no recollection of that phone call.

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