2nd boy alleges abuse by Nobel winner Youth was living with Gajdusek when scientist was arrested

April 18, 1996|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

A second youth has come forward with accusations of being sexually abused by a Nobel laureate who was charged this month with abusing another boy, the Frederick County prosecutor said yesterday.

Dr. Daniel Carleton Gajdusek, 72, an internationally renowned National Institutes of Health scientist, faces four counts of sexual child abuse in the alleged assault of a boy, then 15, whom he had brought from Micronesia in 1987 to live with him at his Middletown residence.

Since Dr. Gajdusek's April 4 arrest, authorities have been trying to find and interview the children, at least 56 of them, whom the scientist has brought to the United States from Micronesia and New Guinea.

It was during his research in the South Pacific in the 1960s and 1970s that he discovered a deadly virus spread by cannibalism that won him a share of the 1976 Nobel prize.

Frederick County State's Attorney Scott L. Rolle said yesterday that a second boy, a minor, also has alleged sexual assault.

"He was living at the house at the time of Dr. Gajdusek's arrest, and the account is very similar," Mr. Rolle said.

The prosecutor said he thinks the second youth is also from Micronesia. He was one of four minors living in Dr. Gajdusek's house when the scientist was arrested. They were removed from the home and placed in foster care.

No additional charges of child sexual abuse have been filed against Dr. Gajdusek, Mr. Rolle said.

"We aren't going to do any more charging until the investigation is over," he said, estimating that it will be completed in about 30 days. At that point, the entire case against Dr. Gajdusek probably will be presented to the county's grand jury, he said.

"That's probably how we'll go, because the grand jury can put everything in a neat package," Mr. Rolle said.

Dr. Gajdusek is widely known in scientific circles for his work in neurology and for his research with children. Over the past 30 years, he apparently used his ties to the NIH to sponsor the children he brought into the United States by writing letters of transit on NIH letterhead, according to law enforcement officials.

He was arrested upon his return to the United States from a European trip after the first youth, now a 23-year-old college student, told the FBI of the alleged abuse between 1987 and 1991. The young man secretly recorded a telephone conversation in March in which Dr. Gajdusek admitted having sex with other boys, according to an FBI affidavit.

Dr. Gajdusek was released from custody on a $350,000 bond two days after his arrest. He could face 50 years in prison if convicted on the four felony counts filed against him.

Pub Date: 4/18/96

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