WESTMINSTER — A Mount Airy man charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girlwas cleared of the charges Wednesday by a Carroll County jury that deliberated 1 1/2 hours.
Amir Homayoun Tabassi, 42, was charged with child abuse, second-degree rape and two fourth-degree sex offenses after a Hagerstown girl told a school counselor and state police she was assaulted.
He was found not guilty on all of the charges.
The girl, whosename is being withheld to protect her privacy, told police the attack occurred Dec. 16 while she was staying at Tabassi's home.
The girl's father and Tabassi had been friends for many years, and the girloften stayed at the Ridge Road home on weekends, court testimony showed.
Martha Kavanaugh, Tabassi's Rockville attorney, maintained the victim "told a big lie last January" when she told a girlfriend anda school guidance counselor she had been attacked.
Tabassi's wife, Leah, and another woman who owns and lives in the Mount Airy home, Diane Kropiewnicki, testified that the victim is a rebellious teen-ager who has had chronic problems in school and with her father.
Leah Tabassi also testified that the victim's father told her the victim, who is now 16, was a "chronic liar."
Leah Tabassi, Kropiewnicki and Tabassi's parents also testified that the attack could not have happened the way the victim said, because she was not in the house thenight she claimed the attack occurred.
Kavanaugh told the jury the victim reported the assault to police because she was trying to getback at the Tabassis because she didn't like the discipline they imposed when she stayed at their home.
Kavanaugh also told the jury that Tabassi believes he is being persecuted because he was born in Iran.
The victim testified Tuesday that Tabassi came into the room where she was sleeping on Dec. 16, began touching her, then forced herto have sexual intercourse.
She said she did not scream because she was afraid of Tabassi, who is a sixth-degree black belt in karate.
She testified that she didn't tell anyone about the alleged attack for several weeks because she "didn't know what to do and was scared."
The victim's father testified earlier in the case that he never said his daughter is a liar, but acknowledged that they have had some problems in their relationship since they moved from Philadelphia back to Hagerstown, Washington County, in 1989.
He said she missedher friends in Philadelphia and had run away from home for eight days and stolen her grandmother's car once.
The jury of 10 men and two women began their deliberations after 2 1/2 days of testimony in the case.
Tabassi is awaiting trial in Washington County on a chargeof fourth-degree sexual assault.
He is charged with touching and fondling the best friend of the girl in the Carroll County case.
No trial date has been set in the Washington County case.