Annapolis Realtor Gary Hart denied charges yesterday that he raped a 33-year-old woman in his Thomas Point home after a dinner date, saying that the woman is trying to ruin his reputation.
Hart, 39, of the 3700 block of Thomas Point Road, was charged with second-degree rape and false imprisonment after turning himself in to investigators at the Eastern District Station Tuesday afternoon.
A District Court commissioner released the owner of Hart Realty on his own recognizance.
"She is not going to get a free ride here and put me in a defensive position," Hart said yesterday. "Anyone who believes there is an iota of truth should come to the trial."
Hart's arrest marked the end of a two-month investigation into the Oct.
16 incident, which police said began when Hart brought the woman to his home after they had been out on a dinner date.
Court records show county police filed a complaint against Hart Nov. 2 and a warrant was issued that day for his arrest. A woman told police Hart raped her at about 4 a.m. Oct. 16 in the bedroom of his home, an application for charges contained in a District Court file shows.
The woman told police she and Hart had returned to his home about 12:30 a.m. When the woman tried to leave, Hart threw her onto a bed and had sex with her against her will, she told police.
Hart held the woman down with his arms across her neck, making it difficult for her to breath, the document says, adding the woman was eventually able to leave the house.
Police said Hart chased her around the house and shouted threats at her, but she escaped. After leaving the house, the woman called police.
The woman reported the incident to police later that day.
Hart, who started in the real estate business in 1974, acknowledged that he dated the woman about six or seven times over the past three months. He said he met her at a city bar.
Hart said she had asked to spend the night Oct. 16 because of plumbing problems in her home. Hart agreed and the woman went upstairs to his bedroom.
"When I came upstairs, she was already undressed and in bed," he said.
"There was sex, but there was nothing unusual about that."
Hart said the evening turned sour when he refused to let the woman accompany him on a trip to Florida.
"She got upset, and I said if she was going to have that problem, I didn't need to see her at all," he said.
She dressed and left the house, Hart said.
"It wasn't a serious relationship to me," he said. "I don't know what she thought."
Hart said two other people were in his home at the time of the alleged rape.
"Wouldn't they have heard some sort of screaming or ruckus?" he asked.
Reached at her home yesterday, the woman would not comment on the incident.
Court records show Hart has been twice previously charged -- but never convicted -- of abusive behavior toward his now-estranged wife, 38-year-old Sherry J. Hart. In the two cases, his wife made the charges but then refused to testify against him.
His wife charged in December 1987 that when Hart came home after a night out, he became verbally abusive, as she said he had done several times in the past. When she tried to leave, Hart grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the floor, she told police.
Within days, however, Sherry Hart wrote to Warren B. Duckett Jr., then the county's state's attorney, asking him to withdraw criminal charges against her husband and stating she would refuse to testify against him.
She issued a statement in which she apologized, saying Hart is "not a wife abuser" and that she had not been "bought off." She said she was confused, angry and hurt over a personal matter when she filed the charges.
The case proceeded, however, and Gary Hart's attorneys filed documents stating Sherry Hart had been diagnosed as suffering from "histrionic personality disorder," making her prone to emotional exaggeration and a tendency to play the role of "victim or princess."
In a January 1987 court trial, Hart was acquitted of charges stemming from the complaint.
In October 1985, Sherry Hart had charged her husband with assault and battery, saying he scratched her neck while trying to strangle her and hit her "real hard" twice in the face, causing a black eye. District Judge Thomas J. Curley Jr. dismissed the case in February 1986 after Sherry Hart refused to testify.
The October 1985 incident did, however, lead to a Circuit Court order temporarily barring Hart from the couple's Thomas Point Road home. Court records connected to the couple's divorce proceedings also show Sherry Hart complained that her husband's "threats, assaultive behavior and other actions . . . make it unsafe for (Sherry Hart) to remain in the family house."
The file shows the wife left the house rather than face what she said would be further "threats, harassment and/or physical violence."