Police officer is indicted on rape charges

July 26, 1994|By Michael James | Michael James,Sun Staff Writer

A 23-year-old Baltimore police officer was indicted yesterday on charges of raping a woman at her home, where he had gone looking for an auto theft suspect, police officials said.

Officer George S. Cannida III, a three-year veteran of the force, is accused by the 26-year-old woman -- whom he had arrested a week earlier on car theft charges -- of attacking her while he was in uniform, police said.

Officer Cannida was suspended with pay yesterday after a city grand jury indicted him on charges of second-degree rape, assault with intent to rape, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and common assault, said Officer Robert W. Weinhold, a police spokesman.

The incident occurred July 11 about 6 p.m., shortly after Officer Cannida and his partner went to the house on Jimrowe Court in Northeast Baltimore to question the woman about the whereabouts of her boyfriend, investigators said.

Police said the boyfriend, whom they did not identify, is thought to have been an accomplice in the same July 3 auto theft incident in which the woman was arrested.

Officer Cannida's partner, a rookie officer, testified at the grand jury proceeding that he did not go into the house, police said.

"He [the partner] was behind the residence, merely in case a suspect tried to flee out the back door. It's standard procedure," Officer Weinhold said. "He was not ever in the house and he didn't see anything."

Four to five hours after the officers left the home, the woman went to Johns Hopkins Hospital and reported that she had been raped, police said. Hopkins officials alerted police, and an investigation was begun.

The results of a rape examination were negative, police said. But when detectives questioned the woman, she told them that the officer had worn a condom, which police later seized as evidence, police said.

After the grand jury handed up the indictment, Officer Cannida was confined at the Central District lock-up and his police powers were suspended. He was awaiting an appearance before a District Court commissioner last night.

The officer faces a departmental suspension hearing today to determine whether he will be suspended without pay, police said.

Under departmental regulations, Officer Cannida will be fired automatically if convicted of the felony charges, police said.

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