Howard police probe assault on preacher Attack with screwdrivers linked to sale of building

December 22, 1991|By Jay Apperson

Howard County police are sorting out a report that three men, apparently motivated by a dispute involving the sale of a building, used screwdrivers to assault a clergyman late Thursday night in his home in an affluent Howard County community.

Identified by police as Earl Wortham, 40, the clergyman said he would not immediately answer questions about the incident "in the interest of my safety and the safety of others."

He would not elaborate, other than to say he was still "gathering information" and would be willing to explain what happened later this week.

The assault victim said he is the bishop of the Back To The Bible Apostolic Temple For All People on Melvin Avenue in Catonsville.

Police said Bishop Wortham was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment of head cuts after an incident about midnight Thursday at his home in the 11600 block of Cedar Line Court in the Farside neighborhood west of Ellicott City.

He was released after being treated for cuts on his scalp and forehead.

Police said their initial investigation showed three men knocked on Bishop Wortham's door and said they had a parcel to deliver. When he opened the door, the men attacked him with screwdrivers, said Detective Michael J. Sherman, a Howard County police spokesman.

He said the men stole credit cards, checks and a bag containing an unknown amount of cash before leaving.

Police had no description of the men, other than that they were wearing dark clothing, and no description of any car they might have used to flee.

Bishop Wortham said he did not know his attackers.

Detective Sherman said a family friend and the bishop's 22-year-old son were home during the attack but were not injured.

Discussing the only possible motive that police have uncovered, Detective Sherman said, "It looks like something about a building purchase, but we don't know what building."

Asked about that possible motive, Bishop Wortham said, "I don't know. I don't know. I don't know."

Detective Sherman said a detective assigned to the case Friday will resume his investigation tomorrow. Police said they have no suspects.

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