Man charged with raping 15-year-old Girl and her sister, 7, were outside library waiting for mother

'A parent's nightmare'

Suspect, 29, accused of 1st-degree rape, robbery, kidnapping

March 26, 1996|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Howard County police charged a 29-year-old Columbia man yesterday with the rape of a teen-age girl who was abducted with her younger sister while waiting for their mother outside the central library in Columbia last week.

The suspect, Timothy Bryan Chase of the 5600 block of Cedar Lane, was charged last night with first-degree rape, a first-degree sex offense, kidnapping, false imprisonment, robbery and other related charges, said Sgt. Steven Keller, a police spokesman.

After receiving a tip regarding the Wednesday night incident, investigators found rings and earrings from the 15-year-old girl and her 7-year-old sister in the suspect's possession yesterday, police said.

Mr. Chase closely resembled the composite sketch provided by the victim, and the rings and earrings found in his possession have been identified by the girl, police said.

The suspect was taken into custody by police at his home. He was awaiting a bail hearing before a District Court commissioner late last night.

The rape -- described by a local PTA leader yesterday as "a parent's nightmare" -- represented the latest in a series of violent incidents that have shocked relatively placid Columbia.

In response, county police have increased patrols around the central library in Columbia's Town Center.

Police soon plan to assess the library's safety, including lighting and security practices, and may recommend changes in procedures. They also plan personal safety classes for library employees.

Library officials say they will carry out police suggestions, but yesterday they turned attention away from their facility -- pointing instead to rising crime across the county.

"This is something that happened in our community. This is not something that happened at the library," said Colette Gingles, coordinator of community outreach for the library system. "The library has typically been looked at as a safe place. So has Howard County."

But some county parents yesterday faulted the library for what they view as haphazard safety measures when it comes to children.

"You never leave children alone out front," said Peggy Borrego of the McGill's Commons neighborhood in east Columbia as she brought her daughter, 15, to the library. "Any sicko could figure out the schedule and wait here. The [library's] behavior was very unsafe."

The library closed its doors Wednesday at 9 p.m., the usual time, leaving the two girls on a bench outside waiting for their mother to pick them up.

A man approached the two and offered them a ride, police say. After they refused, he told them he had a gun and forced them into the woods 150 yards from the building, police say.

The man made both undress and then raped the older sister, afterward telling them to run away or he would shoot, police say. The girls ran into Toby's Dinner Theatre, where they were found by cast members during a production.

Mrs. Borrego suggested allowing children to stand in the library's vestibule until their parents arrive.

But putting a system in place to accompany them while they wait could be problematic, another parent said. If a parent is more than an hour late, should the librarian take the child home, asked Alison Roy-Harrison, PTA president at Harper's Choice Middle School. "I think that's a lot to ask of the library," said the mother of three.

Another local PTA leader said her 15-year-old daughter wants to stay away from the library because of the rape. "It's a parent's nightmare," said Beverly Belin, president of the PTA at Atholton High School. "I think we've been under a false sense of security in Columbia. This is a wake-up call."

Pub Date: 3/26/96

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