Man accused of having sex with stepdaughter acquitted

July 22, 1992|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

A story in Wednesday's Howard County Sun incorrectly identified the judge that ruled that an alleged victim in a child abuse case was not qualified to testify at trial. It was Circuit Court Judge James B. Dudley who made the ruling.

8, The Howard County Sun regrets the error.

A Baltimore man accused of having sex with his 5-year-old stepdaughter and giving her gonorrhea was acquitted yesterday a Howard County jury.

After a two-day trial, Bernard Brailford, 26, was found not guilty of two counts of physical and sexual child abuse and a third-degree sex offense.


Mr. Brailford was charged in February with having sex with his stepdaughter between December 1991 and January 1992 at the girl's grandmother's house in the 5500 block of Waterloo Road.

The girl was diagnosed on Jan. 22 with gonorrhea, and shortly afterward her mother and Mr. Brailford also tested positive for the sexually transmitted disease.

In closing arguments yesterday, Mr. Brailford's public defender, Louis P. Willemin, said the girl came into contact with many other individuals from whom she might have contracted the disease.

During the period of the alleged sexual abuse, Mr. Willemin said the girl spent a lot of time in the care of relatives and neighbors while a family member was seriously ill in the hospital.

The state's case against Mr. Brailford was weakened substantially when Circuit Judge Cornelius F. Sybert Jr. ruled last week that the alleged victim was unqualified to testify.

Assistant State's Attorney Walter Closson said that during the time the alleged abuse took place, it is certain that the child was alone for two hours with Mr. Brailford.

He said the girl's mother had left her in the care of a neighbor while she visited her sick relative in the hospital. When she

returned, the child was at home with Mr. Brailford and had been with him for about two hours.

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