Search upheld in abuse case

April 25, 1995|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A Carroll County judge has ruled that sexual abuse investigators properly obtained evidence -- including a blood sample -- from an HIV-positive man accused of assault with intent to murder in the alleged rapes of his stepgrandsons.

Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. ruled yesterday that the warrants that investigators used last fall to search the defendant's home and vehicle were proper and that the evidence they gathered from the man's van, house and body was admissible at trial.

The man is the first person Carroll prosecutors have charged with assault with intent to murder in a sexual abuse case. His case is one of just a handful of such cases in Maryland.

The basis for the charge is that the man knew he had the human immunodeficiency virus when the alleged abuse occurred, according to investigators and court records. The virus causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

"I'm shocked, surprised and disappointed that Judge Beck ruled the way he did," Judith S. Stainbrook, the man's attorney, said yesterday. "But there are many, many more issues in this case still to be decided."

Judge Beck also granted postponment of a May trial date because prosecutors said DNA testing would not be completed by the state police until after next month.

In line with the judge's ruling yesterday, prosecutors will be able to show a jury the condoms, sexually explicit videotapes, computer files and clothing they said were found in the man's house and van.

Prosecutors also sought yesterday to try the cases involving both grandsons together, rather than separately, as requested by the defendant. The judge said he would hear arguments on that issue later.

The man, whom The Sun is not identifying to protect the privacy of his accusers, has been held at the Carroll County Detention Center since his arrest in October.

In documents filed in Carroll District Court last fall, police alleged that the 46-year-old man had sexual contact with his 8- and 3-year-old stepgrandsons several times in September at the man's house and in his van.

According to District Court charging documents, grand jury indictments and interviews with investigators, the two boys told their mother that they were assaulted in the attic of their grandmother's house and in a van.

Prosecution evidence in the case also indicates that the grandmother knew the 46-year-old man had HIV when they married.

The marriage, the court documents said, began and ended in September.

HIV test results on both children have been negative, investigators said.

No new trial date has been set, but court records indicate that the man's trial must be set before July to comply with the state's trial-scheduling rule. That rule requires defendant's to be tried within six months of indictment or a defense attorney's appearance in the case.

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