Westminster man sentenced to 1 year for sexual abuse

April 26, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

A Westminster man was sentenced yesterday to a year in jail for the nine years he spent sexually molesting a young male neighbor, and his victim said the conviction has set him free emotionally.

David Crawford Smith, 57, formerly of Woodlawn and now of the 3800 block of Bixler's Church Road in Westminster, was found guilty of child abuse and a second-degree sex offense in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Smith pleaded innocent but was tried on an agreed-upon statement of facts. He also is being sued in a civil action.

The abuse occurred from January 1978 to December 1987, when the young victim, Scott W. Lowman, joined the military to get away from it, Assistant State's Attorney Isaiah Dixon III said.

The victim, who was in therapy for depression, said he went to police when he realized that what had happened to him was a crime.

Smith called the prosecution's statement "essentially" correct and had nothing to say before sentencing. Defense attorney E. Pete Summerfield said Smith has diabetes and a heart condition, and no criminal record.

Mr. Lowman, now 26, said he wanted his name made public because it took him 10 years to realize that the sexual acts weren't his fault. He said he wants other victims to realize that they aren't at fault and to report child sexual abuse.

"The fear, the silence almost killed me. All my life, I felt like the perpetrator of the crime," Mr. Lowman told Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe in a shaking but determined voice.

"I thought of Mr. Smith as a father, and he treated me well -- except when he was abusing me."

After a graphic description of the abuse he suffered, he said tearfully, "Now, I fear to handle my 8-month-old baby. I fear I'm a molester. . . . I ask the court to speak loud and clear to Mr. Smith and pedophiles like him."

Judge Howe praised Mr. Lowman's eloquence and ordered that Smith serve one year in jail, on work release. She suspended the balance of two concurrent four-year terms.

Later, Mr. Lowman said he was glad that Smith was to be jailed. He said his was not a case of repressed memory, but of confusion over his role in the sexual acts.

He said his father died when he was 4 and that his mother never DTC told him about sex, so that when Smith began his sexual advances, "I had no idea what was going on. . . . That's why for so long I thought I was the perpetrator of the crime."

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