Man convicted of sex abuse of 9-year-old girls Sentence could total 90 years

October 10, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A man was convicted in Howard Circuit Court last week of sexual offenses and child abuse for assaulting two girls in 1991 while he lived in an Ellicott City apartment complex.

Patrick Leo Cunningham, 54, now of Owings Mills, could receive prison terms totaling 90 years on his convictions in the incidents involving the girls, who were both 9 years old at the time. He will be sentenced Nov. 16.

A jury of seven men and five women deliberated about six hours Thursday before convicting Cunningham of two counts each of second-degree sexual offenses, perverted sexual practices and child abuse.

The jurors acquitted Cunningham of 16 other counts.

Cunningham, a warehouse manager for Comcast Cablevision in

Baltimore County, did not testify during the four-day trial.

Prosecutors say he performed sex acts on both girls at a creek on July 1, 1991, near the Normandy Woods apartment complex, where he lived.

The names of the girls and their parents will not be published to protect the identity of the victims.

"This is an event everybody wants to forget," Assistant State's Attorney Walter Closson said.

Cunningham's attorney, Thomas McCarty of Catonsville, argued that the girls made up the story to avoid getting in trouble for smoking cigarettes.

He noted that they talked to each other for about a half-hour before giving statements to police.

Police were notified about the incidents on July 2, 1991, the day after the girls were caught smoking cigarettes with Cunningham at a park.

A third girl, who testified for the defense, said one of the girls jokingly told her that Cunningham sexually molested her about two months before he was arrested.

Under cross-examination, however, the girl said that she once went with Cunningham and the girls to swim at the creek and that he asked her to remove her bra, which she did.

The mother of one of the victims testified that her family became friends with Cunningham in fall 1990.

The girl would often go to his apartment and have dinner with Cunningham and his wife, she said.

The girl "felt like he was a grandfather to her," the woman said.

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