High court rejects appeal Abuse conviction allowed to stand

January 19, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal filed by Taneytown farmer serving 50 years in prison for sexually abusing his oldest daughter.

Without comment last week, the nation's highest court declined to hear the man's case, in which he was seeking to have his March 1990 conviction on six child sexual abuse charges overturned.

In papers filed in November, the 54-year-old man said his constitutional rights were violated.

He claims he was coerced into making confessions to a counselor and a state trooper that were used in court as evidence against him. Maryland's appellate courts rejected that contention.

"In this case, in an extremely sophisticated form of interrogation, the prosecutor and the police acted in concert with the therapist to induce [the man] not only to reveal the names of his victims, but to then elaborate on the details of their statements to the police," wrote defense attorney Judith S. Stainbrook in her filing with the court.

Ms. Stainbrook declined to comment yesterday on the Supreme Court's decision except to say the court had notified her Saturday.

The man, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of his daughter, sought counseling after the abuse -- which lasted nine years -- was brought to the attention of his family.

The abuse was revealed in June 1989 by his oldest daughter, then 29, when she became concerned for the safety of a 9-year-old niece, for whom her father was to baby-sit.

Before he received counseling, the man was asked to sign a waiver that gave his counselor the right to relate any information about child sexual abuse to police and prosecutors.

Uncertain whether to sign the form, the man called Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill for advice. It was Ms. Hill who ultimately prosecuted him.

Ms. Hill's advice, according to the Supreme Court filing, was to get the counseling.

The man's confessions were used as key evidence at his jury trial. While the confessions revealed his abuse of several of his daughters, he was convicted only of abusing the oldest.

The "advice" from Ms. Hill, and two later interrogations by a state trooper, forced the man into confessing his crimes, Ms. Stainbrook argues in her Supreme Court filing.

Both the Court of Special Appeals, in August 1991, and the Court of Appeals, in August 1992, rejected that argument.

Yesterday, Ms. Hill was delighted with the high court's decision not to hear the case.

"I'm glad that they agree that the Maryland Court of Appeals made the right decision," she said.

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