Taped conversation can be used at rape trial Sykesville man, 21, charged in assault on 13-year-old girl

March 09, 1993|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Staff Writer

Carroll County Circuit Judge Francis Arnold ruled yesterday that a taped conversation between a 13-year-old girl and the 21-year-old man she has accused of rape could be used as trial evidence.

Judge Arnold also ruled that Mitchell Wayne Shown of Sykesville understood his Miranda rights and that statements he made after his arrest are admissible.

Mr. Shown is charged with second-degree rape, intercourse with a minor and battery. He is pleading not guilty to all three.

The judge said he would not allow into evidence a letter of apology that Tfc. C. Michael Vanek suggested that Mr. Shown write to the girl. After Mr. Shown wrote the note, Trooper Vanek suggested he add something about his alleged sexual contact with the girl.

Defense attorney Daniel H. Scherr had argued that all statements Mr. Shown made at his arrest should be suppressed because his client was nervous and didn't understand his rights. He said the suggestion to write the letter was an attempt to prey on any sense of guilt.

"This was not an expression to be used in her therapy, but an expression [the officer] was trying to extract for the state to use against him."

"The letter causes me quite a bit of concern, especially the suggestion he put the P.S. on it," Judge Arnold said.

Mr. Scherr said a tape-recorded conversation, in which Mr. Shown acknowledged he had sex with the girl, should be suppressed because a 13-year-old is not old enough to consent to a wiretap.

In response, prosecutor Edward Ulsch argued that the wiretap was legal because state law does not give a minimum age for such consent. He said an adult relative of the girl also consented to the tap.

Court documents allege the incident occurred in July after Mr. Shown attended the Winfield Fireman's Carnival with a friend and her boyfriend. The three left the carnival and went to the woman's home, where the girl, a relative of the woman's, was watching television.

After the woman and her boyfriend went into another room, Mr. Shown and the 13-year-old allegedly began kissing on the couch.

The two allegedly had intercourse, though the girl told him to stop.

The girl told a school counselor about the alleged incident when classes began in September, and the counselor notified police.

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