Judge allows use of confessions Statements will be heard in abuse trial

October 16, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

The confessions of a 47-year-old man who described several sexual encounters with his 10-year-old adopted daughter will be used against him in Carroll Circuit Court.

In an evidence-suppression hearing yesterday, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. ruled that the man's statement to police during an informal May interrogation was voluntary.

The man, formerly of Sykesville, tried to convince the judge that the nearly hourlong session he had in the basement of the Maryland State Police barracks was anything but voluntary.

He made two confessions, testimony showed. One was to Sgt. Jeff Merson and Tfc. Robert Lipsky at about 4 p.m. May 18. The officers did not advise the man of his constitutional rights.

Another confession was made to them about 20 minutes later, but after the man agreed to have the statement tape-recorded and after he was read his rights.

"Needless to say, if the first confession is tainted and inadmissible, the second confession is also tainted and inadmissible," said defense attorney David L. Johnson. "We will never know, the world will never know, [the man] will never know what would have happened had the police read him his Miranda warnings."

Judge Burns discounted that argument, saying that the man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of his adopted daughter -- went to the barracks voluntarily and that he offered his first confession after officers said it would be best to "tell the truth."

"Nothing was done illegally in obtaining the statement," the judge said.

Assistant State's Attorney Eileen McInerney argued that the statement was made after the man was told of his daughter's conversation with Department of Social Services investigators. In that conversation, The daughter told investigators that her father "always told the truth."

"If he was moved to make the statement out of a sense of altruism, then it should be admissible," she said. "A confession motivated solely on altruism makes it voluntary."

The confessions are the centerpiece of the state's case for the man's sexual abuse trial, prosecutors said.

After an investigation and four days after his confessions, the man was arrested on May 22 and charged with two counts of child abuse, attempted second-degree rape, two counts of third-degree sexual offense and battery.

The man, who has other children, lives in Reisterstown. His trial will be scheduled before Jan. 13, 1993.

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