Man, 35, convicted in molestation case

January 09, 1994|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,Staff Writer

A 35-year-old Baltimore man has been convicted of molesting the 9-year-old daughter of a former employer.

Eugene Keiffer Jr., of the first block of South Washington St., stood without emotion as the jury forewoman announced the decision in Harford Circuit Court late Wednesday.

The jury of six men and six women had deliberated about five hours after the two-day trial before returning guilty verdicts on charges of sexual child abuse, assault and battery and a third-degree sexual offense.

Judge Stephen M. Waldron revoked Keiffer's $2,500 bond and ordered a pre-sentence investigation. The sentencing was set for Feb. 22.

Keiffer was immediately jailed at the Harford County Detention Center.

Joseph P. Meadows, an assistant state's attorney for Harford County, said the child abuse charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The prosecution's principal witness was the young victim who calmly recounted the events of March 5, 1993.

The girl said she had become ill the night before and did not go to school that day.

She said she awoke about 8:30 a.m., was given some medication by her father before he left for work and was told that the defendant, who had lived with the family for two months while working for her father, would be staying with her that day.

She testified that she fell asleep again, awoke later and began to watch television in her parents' bedroom.

About 1 p.m., she became bored and asked Keiffer to come upstairs to play games with her, she told the jury.

Keiffer did, and soon thereafter molested her, the girl said.

She said she did not recall whether Keiffer removed his clothes. She said he touched her through a quilt without removing her clothing.

The girl told her stepmother what had happened late that evening, but asked that her father not be told because she feared he would get angry and fight with Keiffer.

The girl's stepmother testified that since Keiffer was supposed to be moving out of their house that same weekend, she did not tell her husband about the incident for nine days.

She said she feared a physical confrontation between Keiffer and her husband.

She also said she did not want to violate the trust her stepdaughter had placed in her.

When Keiffer had not moved out by the following weekend, she '' said, she persuaded the girl to tell her father what had happened.

The father notified state police, and Keiffer was arrested March 14.

Keiffer testified in his own defense, saying he did not molest the child.

He said someone had put the notion in the girl's head, implying such action was motivated by a disagreement he had had with the girl's father over his not being paid for work he had done.

In closing arguments, Robert Winkler, a public defender representing Keiffer, said he thought the victim believed the incident really did happen.

He asked the jury to consider that she may have been dreaming or confused by the medication she had taken.

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