Man, 76, pleads guilty in rape of great-grandniece in 1992

January 19, 1996

A 76-year-old Westminster man pleaded guilty in Carroll County Circuit Court yesterday to raping his great-grandniece while she was visiting his sister, the child's great-grandmother, more than three years ago.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped two lesser charges against the man, who is not being named to protect the privacy of his victim, now 13. Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. agreed not to sentence the man to more than five years in prison March 21.

A prosecution statement of facts said the girl -- who was 9 at the time -- had spent the night at her great-grandmother's house in Westminster several times during the summer of 1992.

During one visit, after her great-grandmother and a cousin had fallen asleep, the child went to the living room to wait for her aunt to pick her up, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said the man grabbed the girl, threatened to kill her if she screamed and raped her in the kitchen. He also threatened to kill the great-grandmother and cousin if she ever told.

Two years later, the girl told a friend about the abuse. The friend told a school counselor, who notified police. An examination at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore revealed injuries that supported the girl's story about the 1992 attack, prosecutors said.

The man remains free on bond while the state conducts a presentence investigation. As a condition, he is to have no contact with the child or her family.

Judge Beck also ordered the man to pay court costs, because he had requested a jury trial but didn't agree to take the state's plea agreement until yesterday. Public Defender Judson K. Larrimore said the state offered the plea agreement a year ago.

Three people injured when van strikes car

Three passengers of a Carroll Transit van were treated for minor injuries and released from Carroll County General Hospital after an accident yesterday on Route 97 at Bachmans Valley Road.

A police report said two cars were stopped at the traffic light southbound on Route 97 at 9:30 a.m. when the Carroll Transit van, also southbound, hit the rear of one car, knocking it into the other.

The van driver, Donald E. Herrmann, 69, was given a citation by state police for failing to slow down, said a police report that noted that the road was wet and the weather foggy. The injured passengers are Leonard Detweiler, 78, of Halter Road near Pleasant Valley; Ruth Reaver, 71, of Bert Koontz Road near Taneytown; and Montry Keosombath, 20, of Bancroft Street in Taneytown.

Also injured was the driver of the middle car, Leah Ann Baugher, 35. She also was treated and released from the hospital.

"It was bad weather, and it was an unfortunate thing," said James Mathis, executive director of Carroll Transit. "Everybody is shook up, but everybody is fine."

Police

Finksburg: An employee of the Tevco gas station on Route 140 reported to city police Wednesday that someone stole $5 worth of gas about 11:30 p.m.

Westminster: An employee of Wal-Mart on Woodward Road told city police Wednesday that someone stole $1,250 worth of wooden pallets from the receiving dock behind the store.

Westminster: A resident of Carrollview Avenue reported to city police Wednesday that someone stole $175 worth of her clothes from the 140 Laundromat.

Fire

Westminster: Westminster, Reese, Pleasant Valley and Manchester units responded to a heater fire on West George Street at 3:16 a.m. yesterday. Units were out 20 minutes.

Westminster: Westminster responded to a car fire near Route 27 and Spring Mills Road at 9:16 p.m. Wednesday. Units were out 22 minutes.

Westminster: Westminster, Pleasant Valley, Reese and Manchester units responded to an apartment fire on West Main Street at 5:52 p.m. Wednesday. Units were out an hour.

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