Rape case against former trooper dropped

Judge rules to suppress man's statements to police

June 29, 1999|By Laura Cadiz | Laura Cadiz,SUN STAFF

A rape case against a former Maryland State Police trooper was dismissed yesterday after a judge suppressed the trooper's statements.

A police report states that Jonathan M. Pilch, 26, of Myersville told investigators the alleged victim did not consent to sexual intercourse after a December party celebrating Pilch's graduation from the police academy.

But Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger issued a written ruling yesterday that Pilch's statements were "not free and voluntary." Prosecutors then dropped the second-degree rape charge against Pilch.

"It was our determination that we would not be able to prove him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt without that," Assistant State's Attorney John Cox said.

Pilch declined to comment yesterday.

Cox said the ruling "makes sense," but he believes there is "a higher burden [for] a person who is a trained police officer to know when to speak and not to speak."

Pilch was charged with second-degree rape after a Dec. 23 party at a Woodlawn Holiday Inn where he and friends were celebrating his graduation from the Maryland State Police Academy.

According to the statement of charges, the alleged victim, who was intoxicated, rented a motel room at the Holiday Inn later that night and fell asleep.

The documents state that the woman -- whose name is not being published by The Sun because of the nature of the allegation -- awoke around 3 a.m. to find Pilch having sexual intercourse with her and asked him to stop.

But Clarke Ahlers, Pilch's attorney, said he planned to call two people who would have testified that they witnessed what appeared to be consensual sex between Pilch and the woman. "My client has always maintained that he had consent," Ahlers said.

In arguing that Pilch's statement should be suppressed, Ahlers said that the officers interrogating Pilch discounted the possibility of Pilch going to jail or being in trouble, and said they would assist Pilch because he was a trooper.

Pilch was fired in January after Maryland State Police officers conducted an internal investigation of the criminal charges. He has been doing construction work since that time, Ahlers said.

"He is reflective and will take some time to decide where it goes from here with his life," Ahlers said.

Pub Date: 6/29/99

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