WESTMINSTER — A 24-year-old city man "blew" a chance to avoid going to prison for abusing his young daughter and will have to serve eight years in prison after violating his probation, a Carroll circuit judge has ruled.
The man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim -- appeared before Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. Jan. 2 to ask that the sentence be reduced.
Burns said the man is endangering his child by being free and denied the request.
By being found guilty of assaulting his daughter a second time, the man violated his probation and prompted Burns to reinstate his original prison sentence.
Burns heard the first child-abuse case against the man in Oct. 1988 and found him guilty of beating the child in the face and head. The man had pleaded not guilty to the charge, saying he hit his then-8-month-old daughter because she"pulled his hair when he was changing her diaper."
The judge sentenced the man to eight years in prison, but then suspended the sentence and gave him five years of supervised probation, court documents show.
Last January, the child's mother told Westminster City Police Lt. Dean Brewer that she suspected her husband had abused their daughter again.
She told Brewer that while changing the 2-year-old's diaper, she noticed that the child's buttocks were red and bruised, court records show.
Brewer took the child to Carroll County General Hospital, where she was examined by an emergency room doctor. The doctor concluded that the child's new bruises were not accidental and that there were old bruises on her buttocks as well.
The man was arrested by Westminster City Police on Jan. 12 and charged with child abuse and assault.
Under questioning, the man told police he had spanked his child "two or three times, the last time pretty hard" because she had thrown a cup at him, court records show.
He said he spanked her another time because she had "head-butted" him while he was trying to change her diaper.
Circuit Judge Raymond Beck found the man guilty of assault. The child-abuse charge was dropped for lack of evidence, said Kathi Hill, the assistant state's attorney who handledthe case.
Beck sentenced the man to serve one year at the CarrollCounty Detention Center and placed him on five years of supervised probation.
One week later, Beck reduced that sentence to six monthsat the detention center, to be served on weekends, court records show.
But when the man appeared before Burns Nov. 20 on charges he had violated his probation, the judge said he had been given enough chances and reinstated the original sentence of eight years in prison.
The man filed a request 10 days later to have the sentence reduced.
Burns said he was somewhat surprised to see the man back in courtbecause of the "fairly long sentence that I had imposed that was hanging over his head."
"I tried to give him a chance and he blew it," Burns said.
Hill said she thought the judge's decision not to modify the sentence was a fair one.