Man gets 8-year term for sex with niece, 12 WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

February 18, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A 34-year-old Baltimore man was sentenced to eight years in prison yesterday for having sex with his 12-year-old niece after they became pen pals and he moved into the family's Odenton home.

The defendant began corresponding with the victim while he was serving a three-year sentence for burglary in Danbury, N.C., Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris said.

The man came to live with the girl and her mother last April when he was released, accepting an invitation to stay there from the victim's mother, who is his sister, Ms. Ferris said.

He was charged with second-degree rape and sexual child abuse in June, after the man's sister -- the victim's aunt -- discovered love letters written by the girl while she was away from home visiting relatives, Ms. Ferris said.

He pleaded guilty to sexual child abuse Oct. 27, 1992.

At sentencing yesterday, defense attorney Pam North said the defendant was abused as a child, has been addicted to drugs and alcohol since he was 16, was drinking at the time of the offenses and is "sick about what happened."

"I honestly don't think he would have engaged in this kind of activity if he had been sober," Ms. North said.

She asked that the defendant be put on probation so he could attend in-patient therapy at a Michigan rehabilitation program for drug and alcohol abusers.

But the defendant's repeated offenses and his taking advantage of the victim's trust as a relative justified incarceration, Judge Bruce C. Williams said.

The girl, who has since turned 13, sat sobbing in the rear of the courtroom yesterday as the defendant turned around to face her and tried to apologize just before the judge pronounced sentence.

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