Rec center chief faces sex counts involving 7 children Transferred to agency headquarters

June 18, 1993|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

The director of a West Baltimore recreation center has been charged with multiple sex offenses involving seven youngsters at the facility during the past two years, according to police.

Walter Leon McLain, 59, of the 4700 block of Three Oaks Road in Pikesville was arrested May 28 and charged with 24 counts of third-degree sex offense, sexual child abuse and battery, said Sam Ringgold, a police spokesman. A third-degree sex offense involves fondling and touching.

Mr. Ringgold said Mr. McLain was released on a $35,000 property bond and has a scheduled trial date of June 28.

Alma T. Bell, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Recreation and Parks, said that Mr. McLain has now been transferred from the Rosemont Recreation Center where he has been director since 1984 to agency headquarters where he is assisting a district supervisor in preparing brochures of the agency's summer program.

Mr. McLain, a city employee since 1967, receives $30,000 a year as director of the center in the 1200 block of N. Rosedale St.

Mr. Ringgold said the investigation began March 24 after a 17-year-old girl told Recreation and Parks officials that Mr. McLain had sexually touched or fondled her.

Mr. Ringgold said detectives from the Sex Offense Unit and the Youth Division interviewed youngsters who frequented the center and found five other girls -- ages 9 to 13 years -- and a 14-year-old boy who made similar allegations against Mr. McLain.

Two of the alleged victims are sisters, the spokesman said.

The youngsters said that they were sexually touched or fondled in the last two years while participating in activities coordinated by Mr. McLain, or while walking through the center, Mr. Ringgold said.

He said the investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible.

An average of 325 youngsters, 5 to 17 years old, frequented the center on a daily basis during the past 12 months, Ms. Bell said.

She said that under department policy, employees accused of criminal wrongdoing are left in their positions until the matter can be adequately investigated.

"We don't just take someone out of their job because someone made an allegation," Ms. Bell said.

She said that agency officials refer complainants to police and also seek themselves to have the allegations investigated by the proper agencies.

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