Consolidated trial ordered for woman accused of sex abuse

August 24, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A Columbia woman will have a consolidated trial on charges alleging that she had sex with three teen-age boys, according to a ruling issued by a Howard Circuit judge yesterday.

Karen Marie Hector, 34, is scheduled to stand trial Monday on four counts of child abuse, four counts of perverted sexual practices and on three sexual offenses for incidents allegedly involving the boys -- ages 13, 15 and 16.

Although he granted the prosecution's request for a consolidated trial, Judge Dennis Sweeney said the court will instruct jurors to handle each allegation separately when they deliberate on the charges.

Judge Sweeney denied a request by Assistant Public Defender Elizabeth Osterman to dismiss two counts of perverted sexual practices for two incidents allegedly involving one of the boys.

Ms. Osterman argued that state laws do not include intercourse as a perverted sexual practice, even if the victim is a juvenile. She contended that the law applies only to such acts as oral sex, sodomy and bestiality.

Assistant State's Attorney Shirley Ripley countered that a phrase in the law -- "or any other unnatural, perverted sexual practices" -- applies to adults who are accused of having intercourse with a minor.

Ms. Hector, who was arrested in March, is charged with having sexual encounters, including intercourse, with the three boys, who are friends of her son. The incidents allegedly occurred at her home on Stevens Forest Road while her son and another child were there between December 1992 and September 1993.

Police started an investigation of Ms. Hector when the Oakland Mills Middle School principal reported that he had received complaints about Ms. Hector from a parent.

Ms. Hector told investigators after her arrest that the boys would bring X-rated movies to her apartment and would then engage in sexual acts. That conflicts with statements from the youths, who said the woman showed them the movies.

Ms. Hector is free on $5,000 bond, pending her trial. Her children have been placed in foster care by the Howard County Department of Social Services while she awaits trial.

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