Toddler's rapist is convicted Essex man has two other convictions for child assualt.

November 22, 1991|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Evening Sun Staff

A 27-year-old man, who has two previous convictions for sexual assaults on children, has been convicted by a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury of raping a 3-year-old girl whom he lured into his parents' home with the promise of cookies.

After deliberating for five hours, the jury returned a guilty verdict Wednesday against John Steven Gunn, of Cutlass Court in Essex, for the Oct. 17, 1990, attack on the girl.

Gunn faces 20 years in prison. Judge Christian Kahl scheduled sentencing Jan. 17.

According to trial testimony, the victim was riding her bike outside her home when Gunn appeared with some cookies. After getting the girl inside his parents' house, he took her to his room, where he undressed her and had sexual intercourse with her.

Gunn then dressed the girl and put her outside, testimony showed. The girl promptly ran home, crying. Her mother discovered that the girl's vagina was bleeding and took her to the hospital.

An expert on sexual assault from the Greater Baltimore Medical Center testified that the girl had suffered a "penetrating injury" consistent with intercourse.

The girl, now 4, has undergone therapy and did not have to testify at trial because of a special rule that allows "excited utterances" to be testified to by parents or police, said Robin Coffin, the prosecutor.

Coffin, noting that Gunn had twice before been convicted of sexual attacks on children -- once in Baltimore County and once in Washington -- said she would ask the judge to sentence him to 20 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law.

"He really is dangerous," Coffin said of Gunn. "He's probably more dangerous than most murderers I've tried."

Gunn, who was born deaf and mute because of a prenatal illness, had to have a sign-language translator in court to interpret the proceedings.

According to court records, Gunn was first arrested in March 1983 for a sexual assault on a 10-year-old boy in Washington. Before he could go to trial on that charge, however, he was arrested in June 1983 and charged with sodomy and attempted sodomy of a 4-year-old Essex boy.

Gunn was convicted of attempted sodomy Feb. 16, 1984, and sentenced to eight years in prison, with four years suspended.

After being released from state prison in June 1986, Gunn served another year in federal prison for a conviction in the Washington attack.

At the time of his arrest for the attack on the 3-year-old girl, Gunn was receiving treatment at the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Hopkins clinic, which in a June 1984 diagnosis described Gunn as suffering from "sadistic homosexual pedophilia," was treating Gunn in 1990 with Depo-Provera, a drug that smothers the male sex drive by suppressing the hormone testosterone.

According to the June 1984 Hopkins evaluation of Gunn, he told a psychiatrist that his problems began when he was raped by two men at age 15.

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