Second trial allowed in abuse case

July 08, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

Carroll County prosecutors can pursue a second prosecution -- the first ended in a mistrial -- against a Westminster man accused of sexually abusing his 17-year-old stepson, a county judge ruled Tuesday.

In denying the man's request for dismissal of the charges, Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. paved the way for a second trial.

The man's lawyer, Assistant Public Defender Samuel Truette, had argued for the dismissal during a hearing June 22.

The lawyer said Assistant State's Attorney Christy McFaul, the prosecutor, "calculated to subvert the process of the first trial" to produce a mistrial.

Mr. Truette said Ms. McFaul's "misconduct" made a second trial against his client "unconstitutional." Ms. McFaul countered that Mr. Truette had put the prosecution "in the position of constantly defending itself" instead of prosecuting a case of child abuse.

"This court finds no deliberate attempt by the state to cause a mistrial," Judge Beck wrote in his one-page order filed Tuesday in Carroll Circuit Court. "This court [also] finds no deliberate attempt by the state to provoke a request for mistrial by the defendant."

A new trial date has not been set.

Asked to comment on Judge Beck's decision yesterday, Mr. Truette and Ms. McFaul declined to discuss the case.

The defendant allegedly abused his stepson during a 19-month period ending in February 1992.

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

Mr. Truette asked the boy questions aimed at establishing 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, Ms. 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 by his sister. His sister later recanted and said her brother told her to make the allegations.

As he was answering questions from the prosecutor, the youth said he made the allegations to his mother when she returned from 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. Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. granted the request.

The stepfather is not being identified to protect the youth's identity.

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