Store Cashier Guilty Of Raping 15-year-old Co-worker

December 14, 1990|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

The jury, having reached a verdict, filed into a crowded courtroom. In the manner of a wedding congregation, the spectators were segregated. Friends and relatives of the defendant on the left. Friends and relatives of the victim on the right.

Between them, an aisle, 5 feet wide.

The defendant, a 22-year-old cashier at the Giant supermarket at the Festival at Riva, stood charged with raping a 15-year-old co-worker in the store's warehouse. The jury announced its verdict: guilty on all counts.

With that, the defendant, John Montgomery McDeshen, turned to the 15-year-old girl and shouted: "Why did you do this to me? You know it didn't happen like you said it did."

The defendant's mother sobbed loudly. A brother rose and began to move menacingly toward the victim's section before being restrained. "Jesus Christ, people," he said, tears in his eyes.

Sheriff's deputies moved forward, but the disturbance ended.

The victim and her family quickly left the courtroom. They didn't hear Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris ask county Circuit Judge Martin A. Wolff to revoke McDeshen's $10,000 bond pending sentencing on Feb. 7.

"Because of the outburst that was just directed at the victim, I would be concerned with him acting out," Ferris said. But defense attorney Michael F. Gilligan said his client should remain free on bond before sentencing.

Gilligan said McDeshen's father is a retired police officer and his mother is executive director of Chesapeake Appreciation Day. Wolff said McDeshen's bond would stand, but he ordered him to have no contact with the victim or her family.

As the defendant and his family left the courtroom, the mother continued to sob loudly, pressing her forehead against a wall in the hallway before her son said, "Come on, let's get out of here."

Walking hand-in-hand with a woman described as his girlfriend -- also a Giant employee -- McDeshen ignored a reporter's questions as he left the building.

McDeshen, of the 900 block Spa Road, Annapolis, faces up to 20 years in prison for second-degree rape. The jury also convicted him of false imprisonment, assault and battery and a fourth-degree sexual offense.

In reaching their verdict, jurors were asked to decide whether to believe McDeshen's claims that the girl consented to sex last July 21 in the "motor room" in the back of the supermarket warehouse.

The prosecution presented witnesses -- other female supermarket employees -- who said McDeshen had a habit of pawing them whenever he was alone with them in out-of-the-way areas of the store. McDeshen testified it was the women who couldn't keep their hands off him.

Prosecution witnesses also said the girl seemed traumatized after the incident.

The jury deliberated for an hour Wednesday and an hour and a half yesterday before convicting McDeshen.

After the verdict, Ferris said McDeshen's courtroom outburst showed his aggressiveness. The prosecutor added: "It's been a while since I've seen that kind of reaction."

The victim and her aunt said they were not surprised by McDeshen's outburst. The aunt said the defendant's family, throughout the two-day trial, had tried to intimidate the girl, muttering remarks, calling the girl and her family "liars and tramps."

"A lot of remarks," said the girl, a student at South River High School, "but that wasn't going to keep me from testifying."

And what about when McDeshen's brother moved toward the victim and her family?

The aunt said she thought the McDeshens were coming to get her niece.

"But she had an uncle and a stepfather there protecting her," said the aunt, "and they would have had to get through me."

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