Youth Charged With Rape

Police and fire scan

May 12, 1991

A resident of state juvenile offender's facility in Marriottsville has been charged as a minor in connection with the rape of a jogger ina Howard County park, authorities said.

The 15-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with second-degree rape and sex offenses in the April 26 incident.

Howard County Police said a 24-year-old woman was dragged into bushes at Centennial Park, near Columbia, and attacked.

Police said the youth was a resident of the state-owned, privately operated Thomas O'Farrell Youth Center in Henryton, where he was undergoing court-ordered therapy for attempting two sexual assaults in Prince George's County. The defendant was in a fresh-air program for troubled youth when the rape occurred, officials said.

Four supervisors from the center chaperoned the boy and 38 other participants of the program at the park the day of the rape, police said. Witnesses told police theysaw the attacker run to the park's exit and flag down a crowded van that was departing.

Police later learned that the van was owned and operated by the O'Farrell Center. After questioning supervisors of the outing, they learned the identity of the boy chasing the van, said Sgt. Gary L. Gardner, a police spokesman.

"Apparently, they cameout to the park for recreational activities," Gardner said. "This boy appeared to leave the group."

Police arrested the boy Thursday at his family's home in Capitol Heights, where he was staying on a five-day pass from the youth center. The boy was being held at the Thomas J. S. Waxter Children's Center in Laurel.

The state Department of Juvenile Services is reviewing all resident case files at the center, and has forbidden the center from taking in any more sex offenders, JS chief Nancy S. Grasmick said, adding field trips are prohibited until an investigation is completed.

SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK

Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residentsto help solve the Crime of the Week.

This week, the group is targeting vandalism at a home in Sykesville.

Police said that sometimebetween Oct. 1 and March 21, 1991, approximately 200 holes were shotinto the siding of a Sykesville home.

Police believe the shots were fired from a BB gun.

If you have any information about this crime, or believe you may know who is involved, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

You do not need to give your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, you could earn up to a $1,000 reward.

ARSON CHARGES DROPPED

WESTMINSTER -- Arson charges have been dropped against a Reisterstown man accused of setting his Linwood home on fire last June to collect insurance money.

Carroll Deputy State's Attorney Edward M. Ulsch decided to dismiss the charges against John Martin Johnston, 37, after a mistrial was called in the case against him last month.

After almost 12 hours of deliberation in the case, the members of the jury told Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. theycould not reach a unanimous decision.

Ulsch said he decided not to re-try the case against Johnston because he believed the first jurywas attentive and it is likely that another jury also would be deadlocked.

"I evaluated the case, and my opinion is that with the result of the first case, another jury probably would not be able to reach a verdict, either," Ulsch said.

Johnston was charged with setting the fire at his home in the 200 block of Clear Ridge Road one monthafter it occurred.

The fire, which was fought by 30 firefighters from New Windsor, Union Bridge and Taneytown, caused $75,000 damage.

Two key prosecution witnesses in the case told the jury they heardJohnston and Owings Mills resident Dennis Krisher discuss how to burn the house down in the least suspicious way while the four men watched a football game.

Krisher originally was charged in the case, but charges against him were dropped when he agreed to testify for the state.

The defense maintained the two witnesses made up the story to get Johnston in trouble, because Johnston and Krisher were witnesses against the two men in another criminal case.

THEFT TRIAL POSTPONED

WESTMINSTER -- The theft trial of a county psychotherapist was postponed Thursday after the man's attorney asked for a continuance.

Steven M. Mednick, owner of the Carroll County Family Counseling Center, was arrested in November after city and state police searched and seized records from his business on Main Street.

Records also were seized from his home-based office in Pikesville.

He was charged with three counts of theft in connection with a Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance fraud.

The charges allege that Mednick stole $8,176 from the insurance company by double- and triple-billing.

A clientof Mednick's, a Blue Cross/Blue Shield employee who was enrolled in a company orientation course on fraud, reported the over-billing, officials at the Carroll State's Attorney's Office said.

Two civilianinspectors from the insurance company then posed as patients and made appointments with Mednick.

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