WESTMINSTER — City police have filed charges against a 32-year-old Westminster foster mother on several counts of sexually abusing her 15-year-old foster son over a period of six months.
The charges, filed Thursday, allege the woman fondled the youth's genitals, performed oral sex and had intercourse with him against his will on four occasions, from July through December 1991.
Authorities became involved in late February after the boy disclosed the incidents to his high school counselor and his physician.
Citing the state's confidentiality law, M. Alexander Jones, the county's director of social services, said he could not discuss any of thedetails of the case.
The county has 59 licensed foster homes witha total of 58 Carroll children living in them, plus another 19 living in group homes outside county, Jones said. Carroll has no group foster homes.
When abuse is alleged, Jones said, DSS investigates andmay take action that could include removing the child and placing him or her in another home.
Jones added that potential foster parents are screened for any convictions of crimes related to children, which automatically disqualifies candidates. Jones said DSS also asks potential foster parents to release their own children's school records.
Police officials said they could not discuss much beyond the facts disclosed in the complaint, which was filed Thursday.
The mother, whose name is being withheld by The Carroll County Sun to protect the boy's identity, is charged with one count of abuse by a custodianand six counts of fourth-degree sex offenses -- committing pervertedsex acts, having sex with an underage minor and having sex without consent.
If convicted on all counts, the woman faces a maximum sentence of 30 years and a $6,000 fine.
Police said the arrest warrantwould probably be served early this week.
The boy said he went tohis girlfriend's house after a fondling incident in November and considered running away, but returned home. The abuse continued a month later, police say.
After questioning the woman, police said, they found a diary kept by the woman that had several passages that supported the boy's account.
The foster mother later said the diary was an account of her "dreams and fantasies," police said.
When policetook the boy to his foster house to remove his belongings, he gave them a copy of a book, "The Complete Book of Erotic Art," which he said his foster mother had given to him.
Jones said foster parents are not considered employees of state or DSS, and the money paid to them is considered reimbursement for the cost of caring for the child. Foster parents of teen-age children receive $550 month for expenses, more if the child is handicapped.
Training is required for all foster care candidates, and is provided by DSS, Jones said.
Children are usually placed in foster care because the natural parents are not able to care for child because of abuse, abandonment or other reasons, Jones said.
Staff writer Anne Haddad contributed to this story.