Havre de Grace councilman is convicted of child sex abuse

November 11, 1997|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A Harford County jury convicted Havre de Grace City Councilman Charles A. Maslin III yesterday of child sex abuse and molestation in a case that involved sex with a youth almost 20 years ago.

Maslin, 40, was led away in handcuffs to the county Detention Center after being found guilty in Circuit Court of two counts of second-degree sexual offense, one count of third-degree sexual offense and one count of child abuse.

Maslin, elected to office in May 1996, could receive prison terms totaling 65 years when he is sentenced by Judge Thomas E. Marshall in three weeks.

Maslin was convicted of molesting James C. Waters, 28, between 1978 and 1982, starting when Waters was 9. Waters, who went public with the allegations, said yesterday that the guilty verdict allowed him to have closure.

"I feel that I can finally, truly begin my life," said Waters, who hugged his tearful mother after the verdict. "I want other people to know that they can come forward and it doesn't matter how long ago the abuse happened or who committed the abuse."

Maslin's lawyers had argued that while there was sexual activity between the two, it was consensual and occurred when Waters was 15 to 18. Under Maryland law, child sexual abuse involves someone younger than 14.

Carl Schlaich, one of Maslin's attorneys, said he was surprised the jury returned a verdict in less than two hours.

"I think the quickness of the verdict shows that somebody chose to turn a blind eye to some of the facts we presented," he said.

Maslin is off the council as a result of the conviction. Councilman Joe Kochenderfer said that officials could leave the seat vacant until the election in May or the mayor, with the council's approval, could name someone to fill it.

A civil suit brought by Waters against Maslin is pending.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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