Fire volunteer is charged with rape, kidnapping Howard suspect had conviction in 1991 attack

September 11, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Savage volunteer firefighter convicted of attacking a woman earlier this year has been charged with ordering two women to remove their clothes, taking their pictures and raping one of them.

James Scott Botschen, 31, who listed his address as the Savage Volunteer Fire Department, picked up the women in Baltimore on separate days last week and drove to Curtis Bay, according to a police report filed in Anne Arundel County District Court.

Armed with a butcher knife, Mr. Botschen attacked the women in his car while wearing a dark blue Howard County fire department shirt, the report said. Police confiscated several Polaroid snapshots of women from Mr. Botschen's car when he was arrested.

In July 1991, Mr. Botschen was arrested after an Olney woman was found covered with blood and walking along Route 198 in Anne Arundel County.

He was charged with second-degree rape and fourth-degree sexual offense, but was convicted on lesser charges of assault and battery in January. He was given an 18-month suspended prison sentence, a five-year probation sentence and a 100-hour community service project.

Mr. Botschen was banned from handling emergency calls, but he continued doing administrative work for the department.

Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker said he supported the decision not to dismiss Mr. Botschen. "We did talk about it, and I agree with the action we took," he said.

Some members of the Savage Volunteer Fire Company had fought to keep Mr. Botschen on the squad following his #i conviction, citing his "best performance" award two years ago.

Douglas Levy, vice president of the volunteer fire company, said he was shocked and upset by the new charges. But he added that the courts and probation department had presented no information to the company that would have been sufficient to keep Mr. Botschen out of the department.

After Mr. Botschen's arrest Sept. 4, he was dismissed from all activities with the volunteer company. Mr. Botschen is charged with one count of first-degree rape, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of battery and one count each of attempted rape, fourth-degree sexual offense and assault with intent to rape.

He is being held without bond at the Anne Arundel Detention Cen- ter.

A District Court hearing has not been set.

Mr. Botschen is the second Savage volunteer firefighter arrested on sex-related crimes this year. Jeffrey Allen Hatton, 18, was charged with second-degree sexual offense for touching the breasts and genitals of a 12-year-old girl in a car at the Savage fire department on June 16.

Mr. Hatton resigned from the fire department. His case is on the inactive docket in Howard County Circuit Court, meaning the charges will disappear from his criminal record in one year HTC unless prosecutors reactivate the case.

Mr. Botschen's arrest last week prompted the county Department of Fire and Rescue Services to initiate an evaluation of its policies and procedures.

"[The arrest] is cause for fact-finding and an evaluation of current procedures and policies," said Donald Howell, county Fire and Rescue Services spokesman.

"It's too early to tell what direction that will take," he said.

Court records gave the following account of the attacks:

Glen Burnie state police launched a surveillance of the Curtis Bay area after a Baltimore woman reported being raped there at 4:30 a.m. Sept. 3. The woman ran naked to Golden Capital Distributors in the 6600 block of Cabot Road to report the attack. Employees told officers that two unidentified women had come to the business on the two previous nights and reported being abandoned nearby after having sex with a man.

The woman told investigators that a man approached her on Ramsay Street in Baltimore and offered to pay "no more than $40" to have sex with her. He then drove her to Swan Creek Road, where he pulled a knife and raped her. He forced her to pose naked in the car as he photographed her.

After the rape, the woman fled. She said the assailant wore a blue Howard County fire department T-shirt.

On the following night at 2:30 a.m., two state police troopers saw a yellow 1972 Chrysler Newport matching the description given by the rape victim, again along Swan Creek Road.

The troopers approached the car and found Mr. Botschen in the car with a "hysterical" woman clad only in a T-shirt.

The woman, who told police she was a prostitute, said Mr. Botschen approached her on Carey Street in Baltimore. He drove to Swan Creek Road and pulled a knife just before troopers arrived.

Police arrested Mr. Botschen, who was wearing a fire department shirt and fit the description given by the first victim. A camera and a snapshot of the second woman were on the board, the report says.

Troopers also found a butcher knife, fire department T-shirts in the trunk, and a nude picture of the first woman. A third photo of an unidentified nude woman was in the glove box.

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