Judge found not guilty of sex assault In 15 minutes, jury acquits Orphans' Court official

March 01, 1997|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

A city Orphans' Court judge was found not guilty yesterday of sexually assaulting a former girlfriend in his chambers last year.

A Baltimore Circuit jury took about 15 minutes to acquit Lewyn Scott Garrett of charges of second-degree sex offense and second-degree assault, after defense attorney Warren A. Brown accused Jerelyn Allen of fabricating the charges to get back at her former lover.

Allen, 35, of Catonsville charged that on a visit to Garrett's Courthouse East chambers the night of Oct. 4, the judge threw her against a wall, slapped her, then threw her to the floor and performed a sexual act against her will.

Garrett, 41, said he was trying to get away from Allen that night. He said she had been following and obsessively calling him, and that she stole his keys on the visit to his chambers.

The Sun does not identify victims of alleged sexual assault unless they give permission. Allen said she wanted her name used.

As Allen sobbed in the courtroom, Brown described a letter she had written to Garrett six months before the alleged assault, in which Allen described herself as "vicious" and "very cruel" to him. He reminded the jury of the testimony by a friend of Garrett's, who said he overheard Allen threaten Garrett: "I will ruin you."

"Figuratively speaking, she knows where the jugular is, and that's his profession, his reputation," Brown told the jury.

Allen testified that she wrote the letter because Garrett had forced her, as part of an on-again, off-again relationship that was physically and mentally abusive.

Harford County Assistant State's Attorney Yolanda Curtin, who prosecuted the case, told the jury that Garrett never offered an adequate explanation of what happened the night of Oct. 4. By contrast, Curtin said, Allen did.

"She came here because she was tired of the abuse she suffered at the hands of the defendant," Curtin said. "She was specific."

Garrett, who has not been sitting as a judge since a grand jury indicted him in October, said he hoped he could resume a normal life. Orphans' Court judges handle cases involving estates, contested wills and guardianship.

Allen said she felt victimized again by the trial, which she said should not have taken place in the courthouse where Garrett worked. "He raped me, and they treated me as if I were the criminal," she said.

Pub Date: 3/01/97

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