Man accused of abusing stepson faces second trial Hearing last month ended in mistrial

April 02, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Prosecutors will retry the case of a Westminster man whose first trial on charges of sexually abusing his 17-year-old stepson resulted in a mistrial.

During a hearing to waive Maryland's trial-scheduling rule, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. gave prosecutors the go-ahead to try the man on June 22. In Maryland, all Circuit Court trials must be scheduled within 180 days of an attorney's appearance in the case unless a judge rules otherwise.

In February, Judge Burns had declared a mistrial after a day of often- rancorous testimony.

The defendant, a 29-year-old carpenter, allegedly abused his stepson during a 19-month period ending in February 1992.

Prosecutors will, as they did in the trial two months ago, rely heavily on the testimony of the stepson, who no longer lives with the man.

During the first trial on Feb. 9, the stepson detailed sexual encounters that allegedly took place at the family's house, in the man's workshop and on a family vacation.

BTrying to give the jury hearing the case a possible reason for the stepson's accusations, Assistant Public Defender Samuel Truette asked the boy questions to establish that he was angry with his mother and stepfather for grounding him and forcing him to break up with a girlfriend who lives in Delaware.

To counter Mr. Truette's argument, Assistant State's Attorney Christy McFaul asked the boy why he decided to tell his mother about his accusations when he did.

The boy replied that it was because his mother didn't believe similar allegations from his sister. His sister later recanted and said she was told by her brother to make the allegations.

As he was answering questions from the prosecutor, the boy said he told his mother of his allegations when she returned home after serving a night in jail after a drug arrest.

Mr. Truette moved for a mistrial after the boy testified about the drug arrest and his sister's recantation. Judge Burns granted the request.

Mr. Truette and Ms. McFaul had agreed not to bring up the mother's jail time or the sister's recanted story in front of the jury.

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