Man convicted in sexual abuse of his daughter

February 15, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Forest Hill man faces up to 65 years in prison after his conviction yesterday on charges of sexually abusing his 11-year-old daughter, who was permitted to testify even though she had been diagnosed as having multiple personality disorder.

The 55-year-old man, whose name is being withheld to protect the girl, was found guilty of child abuse, sodomy, unnatural and perverted sexual practices, and second- and third-degree sex offenses.

He is to be sentenced in Harford County Circuit Court on April 15.

The victim testified Wednesday that her father repeatedly fondled her and forced her to have oral and anal sex with him between April 1989 and October 1990.

It is believed to be the first time in Maryland that a person diagnosed as having multiple personalities has been allowed to testify.

But in explaining his verdict, Judge Cypert O. Whitfill said he believes the Woodburne Center of Baltimore made an "inappropriate diagnosis" that the girl has multiple personalities. The judge heard the case without a jury.

Experts did not testify during the three-day trial about the girl's condition. But several reports, including Woodburne's, were presented.

Public Defender John J. Henderson argued that the Woodburne diagnosis, which said the girl had 16 personalities, casts doubt on her credibility.

But Assistant State's Attorney Diana A. Brooks claimed the victim does not have the disorder, saying Woodburne's diagnosis is unsubstantiated.

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