Trial of teen-ager begins alleged rape on videotape 12-year-old girl involved in incident

December 05, 1991|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Baltimore County Bureau of The Sun

An 18-year-old Randallstown man went on trial yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, charged with forcing a 12-year-old girl to have sex with two of his friends while he videotaped them.

The girl, who is now 13, said she was attacked by a neighborhood teen-ager who had come to her home with video games to play with her younger brother.

Clifton Carter Jr., who was 17 at the time of the Nov. 9, 1990, incident, is charged with first- and second-degree rape, assault and battery. Prosecutor Angela White contends he is guilty of the attacks although he didn't have sex with the girl because he "participated to the extent that he made [his friends'] conduct his own."

Mr. Carter and defense attorney Warren Brown told the jury that the girl consented to have sex with Mr. Carter's two friends but objected to Mr. Carter making the film, which they said has vanished.

Mr. Carter testified that he wanted the film back to finish editing out the "snow" and make it look more like a professional pornographic film but that his friends had taken it to show other friends.

Under cross-examination, Mr. Carter balked at revealing the identities of his friends, saying he knew them only by nicknames. Ordered to answer by Judge J. William Hinkel, he yielded a few clues such as a high school, a telephone number and a possible first name.

Mr. Carter insisted his friends are several years younger than he -- an important element in the case.

To prove second-degree rape, the victim must be younger than 14, and the defendant at least four years older. Force is required to sustain a first-degree rape charge.

So if the two boys were younger than 16, no statutory rape occurred under the law, the attorneys agreed.

Ms. White told the jury in her opening statement that Mr. Carter planned the attack, bringing his father's video camera to the girl's house. She said Mr. Carter blocked the girl's escape, then filmed his friends raping her, one by one, as he told her: "Don't worry: We're making a movie. Act like you like it -- or else."

Mr. Carter and the others threatened the girl, and she told no one of the attack for nearly five months, Ms. White and the girl said.

On April 11, Mr. Carter's mother, Delphine Carter, found the videotape stuffed between cushions of a living room chair.

She testified in her son's defense that she played the unlabeled tape to see if it was blank and was shocked to see what was on it, and even more shocked to recognize the girl in the film. "I was so upset. I just couldn't believe my eyes or ears," she said.

Mrs. Carter said she didn't recognize the boys in the film but heard her son's voice.

Mrs. Carter testified that she told the girl's mother and became angry when she called police.

The girl's mother also testified that she was shocked to hear of the film and confronted her daughter. "She was crying, and I was crying. . . . I knew there was something I had to do," the girl's mother said. She said she called a rape crisis center, which referred her to the police.

The girl testified that she had been afraid to tell her mother "because I wasn't supposed to have company when my Ma wasn't there and I didn't want to get in trouble." But she said she didn't get in trouble when her mother found out.

"She was saying . . . 'Why did you let them in?' I told her we were bored and everybody else had [video] games. . . . My brother didn't know how to play [Nintendo] very well."

The girl gave this account of what happened that day, mumbling and occasionally faltering under questioning by the prosecutor.

The girl, her brother and the visitors played the video games, until one of the visitors asked for a drink of water and she went upstairs to get it. Mr. Carter and his two friends came upstairs and began rummaging in her mother's bedroom.

"Me and my brother aren't even allowed in the living room or dining room, where there's all new expensive furniture . . . or her room," she said. "So I told them, "You can't go in there."

"He, Clifton, had closed the door. . . . I felt like they were going to mess up something, break it, [and] I didn't

want them to go downstairs and mess with my brother."

"They told me to take off my clothes. . . . They told me something was going to happen if I didn't. . . . This boy made me lay on my mother's bed, and he had sex with me."

In response to a question, the girl said she was a virgin before the attack.

She said that while she was being raped, "Clifton was standing near my mother's TV videotaping. . . . He said, 'Just act normal.' " She said she tried to call her brother and to push a buzzer on her mother's speakerphone.

Testimony in the case was completed last night, and the judge said the case should go to the jury of 11 men and one woman today.

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