Farmer, 75, charged in sex abuse

May 17, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A 75-year-old Keymar man charged with molesting four children -- three of them his grandchildren -- was released on bail yesterday after he spent the weekend in the Carroll County Detention Center.

Although prosecutors sought to keep the man in jail, Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold set bail at $50,000 after ruling that the man was not likely to flee or fail to appear for court hearings.

The defendant -- a retired farmer -- posted his farm as bond.

A 13-count indictment returned by a Carroll grand jury this month charged the man with second-degree rape, incest, perverted practice, two counts each of second-degree sex offense, child abuse and third-degree sex offense, and four counts of fourth-degree sex offense. If he is convicted on all counts, the defendant could be sentenced to as much as 134 years in prison.

The man's name is being withheld to protect the identities of his accusers.

According to prosecutors and court records, the Carroll County Child Abuse and Sexual Assault unit began an investigation of the man last year after a woman who was baby-sitting a 4-year-old boy noticed him acting out sexual contact with her grandchildren.

When the woman asked the boy where he learned that behavior, he told her that "Pappy does it to me," Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill said yesterday.

The man frequently cared for the 4-year-old boy, prosecutors said. They alleged that the boy had been sexually abused in July at the man's farm.

Investigators also uncovered other allegations of sexual abuse. According to the indictment, three of the man's grandchildren say they were abused while they were at his house.

The indictment says that the man had sexual intercourse with and molested one of his granddaughters during 1989 when she was 12. The indictment also charges the man with molesting two other granddaughters -- who are now in their 20s -- beginning in 1981.

The man did not address the court during yesterday's bail review hearing except to tell Judge Arnold that he owned a farm.

Assistant State's Attorney Christy McFaul asked the judge to set a high bail so that the man "would not be a threat" to the community or his granddaughters.

The man's defense lawyer, Robert K. Parker, disputed the prosecutor's allegation that his client posed a danger to his family.

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