Testimony nears end in abuse trial of ex-counselor Man had worked at Shelter Home

December 08, 1992|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Testimony in the trial of a former Sykesville Shelter Home counselor accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old resident is expected to conclude today in Carroll Circuit Court.

Kenneth Charles Colburn, a 27-year-old from Frederick, is facing two counts each of child abuse, fourth-degree sexual offense and battery and one count of perverted sexual practice.

Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr., who began hearing testimony yesterday, could sentence Mr. Colburn to more than 42 years in state prison if he is convicted on all counts.

Prosecutors have one more witness to present before they rest their case this morning. That person -- who is said to have witnessed sexual contact between Mr. Colburn and the girl -- is nine months pregnant and has been ordered by her doctor to remain in bed until she delivers.

At press time, Judge Beck, the court stenographer, a clerk, the defendant and Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III were expected to take her testimony in Frederick this morning before the defense puts on its case in the non-jury trial at Carroll's Old Courthouse.

According to a statement the girl made to police after the alleged April 1991 incident, Mr. Colburn and the girl, now 16, were involved in a sexual relationship.

When the girl -- who has been in and out of youth shelter homes for the past five years -- was placed at the Sykesville facility, she became romantically interested in her counselor, the statement and testimony yesterday revealed.

According to testimony, the counselor and the girl, who was dressed in a nightgown, sweater and underwear, were in a staff office on April 14, 1991. The counselor began to touch her, testimony showed, but she returned to her bedroom.

Shortly after midnight, the girl testified, the counselor came into her bedroom, began fondling her, then performed oral sex.

She told no one of any incident until being accepted into the Karma House for Girls in Frederick on May 24, 1991.

"She came to me, asked to speak to me," said Scott Alexander, a family counselor at Karma House. "She said that she had been involved in an unnatural relationship with her counselor and that she was in need of help."

The girl escaped from Karma House on June 9, 1991, and is currently hospitalized in Baltimore undergoing drug counseling.

In an unusual move, defense attorney Charles O. Fisher Jr. subpoenaed the girl and Sykesville Shelter Home Director Richard Brown while they were on the stand yesterday.

Mr. Fisher said last night he wasn't sure whether he will have them testify for the defense.

Mr. Colburn, who is married, was arrested and charged in September 1991. He was placed on administrative leave from the Sykesville Shelter Home, but has since resigned. He is employed outside of the counseling profession, Mr. Fisher said.

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