Child abuser is denied a new trial after his second appeal

March 10, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A Westminster man convicted of child sexual abuse in 1993 has lost his second appeal for a new trial.

Without comment, the Court of Special Appeals on Wednesday denied the man's request to argue that his defense attorney's incompetence led to the 20-year prison sentence he now is serving.

"This is basically the end of the line. I would have liked to argue this case" on appeal, said Towson attorney Paul J. Feeley, who has represented the 45-year-old man since a Carroll jury found the man guilty of sexually molesting two of his nieces and a friend's daughter.

The new trial request to the appellate court came after Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. denied a similar request last year.

The man -- whose name is being withheld to protect his victims -- said that Edward T. Barry, then an

assistant Carroll public defender, failed to properly file a motion asking the court to break the case into three trials, one for each of the accusers.

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

That investigation also found that he had sexually abused his 15-year-old niece when she was 9 and had abused another 9-year-old niece.

According to Judge Burns' order, Mr. Barry did not file the motion at first because he believed he could persuade the jury that the case against his client was nothing more than a plot hatched by the three accusers, who were the key prosecution witnesses at the man's trial.

While that decision ultimately harmed the man's defense, it was within the lawyer's discretion and part of the defense's trial strategy, Judge Burns said.

Mr. Barry's decision not to move to separate the case "was clearly a trial tactic on his part and will not be second-guessed by the court," Judge Burns wrote in his denial order.

The man was convicted after a three-day jury trial in which former Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman compared the defendant to Judas and called him a monster.

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