Appeals court upholds convictions for sexual child abuse

March 16, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A man called a "monster" by the state's attorney has lost his bid to have his child sexual abuse convictions overturned.

The Court of Special Appeals ruled that the 44-year-old man failed to prove that Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. made any "reversable errors" during his jury trial in February 1993.

"We are not persuaded that Judge Beck abused his discretion in denying [the defendant's] motion for a mistrial," Judges Theodore G. Bloom, William W. Wenner and Arrie W. Davis wrote in the four-page opinion filed last week.

The Westminster man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the privacy of his victims -- is serving 20 years in state prison for sexually molesting two nieces and the daughter of a family friend.

Judge Beck imposed a sentence of 130 years on the defendant after telling him that he -- like the jury of seven women and five men that convicted him Feb. 10, 1993 -- believed the testimony of the three young victims.

The judge suspended 40 years of the sentence and ordered the man to serve seven 10-year sentences concurrently with the 20 years imposed on two counts of child abuse and a second-degree sexual abuse count.

In his appeal, the man said Judge Beck should have declared a mistrial after a courtroom spectator shared notes with a potential witness. That witness, the mother of one of the victims, did not testify.

The man also claimed that Judge Beck should have broken the case into three trials, one for each victim. The judge had refused that request because the man failed to make the request within 30 days of his arraignment.

Yesterday, State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who compared the man to Judas and called him a monster in closing arguments, said he was pleased with the decision of the state's second-highest court.

"He'll be in there until after these children are adults," Mr. Hickman said yesterday.

The man was arrested in August 1992 after a four-month state police investigation revealed that he had been fondling the 10-year-old daughter of a family friend for at least two years.

That investigation also revealed sexual abuse of his 15-year-old niece when she was 9 and of a 9-year-old niece. The victims were the prosecution's key witnesses in the three-day trial.

The man's attorney, Edward T. Barry, an assistant Baltimore County public defender, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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