A foster father pleaded guilty yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court to raping and sexually abusing two girls, who were 7 and 13 years old when he attacked them in their bedrooms at his home in Essex.
The 46-year-old Essex resident had been scheduled for trial yesterday on 14 charges including second-degree rape, child abuse, assault and battery, and third- and fourth-degree sex offenses against the girls, who were there to testify against him.
In a statement of facts supporting the two guilty pleas, Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Bailey said that the man forced sexual intercourse on the 7-year-old girl, who stayed with him and his wife from June 1988 until July 1990.
The girl, now 9, told police the attacks occurred toward the end of her stay. She described them in childish words, but in detail.
The older victim, now 15, stayed with the family less than a month during August and September of 1990, the prosecutor said. In an interview with the police, she first denied the experience, saying, "What would I want to do with a 46-year-old man?" Then she told police he had merely pulled at her clothes, begged to have sex with her, and made crude gestures. Finally, she fell silent, left, and returned to ask the detective, "If it happened like he said, would that make me a bad person?" She then told the police that the man had forced intercourse upon her during her second week in his home.
Brought in for questioning last October, the man at first said, "I didn't hurt anyone," then admitted intercourse with the younger girl in her room "about five times." Asked by the police why he attacked the girl, the man replied, "She had been abused before. Who would believe her?" Mr. Bailey told the judge.
After accepting the guilty pleas, Judge John Grason Turnbull II revoked the man's $20,000 bail and ordered him held at the county Detention Center until sentencing, commenting, "The facts in this situation are absolutely incredible."
The judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation of the man before March 18, when he faces up to 15 years for the child-abuse conviction and 20 years for second-degree rape.
Although the family had taken in other foster children before his arrest, Mr. Bailey said, the two girls were the only ones found to have been abused.
The charges first arose in October 1990, he said, after the younger girl went to a shelter and told two adults there she had been abused at one of her foster homes -- without saying where or by whom. An investigation faltered, he said, until someone at the shelter called police last September to report a letter by the child to the man's wife, which said in part: "I want to tell you something just between you and me. . . . Uncle Charles sexually abused me there."