Man gets 20-year prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10-year-old girl

Public defender says client's actions influenced by lengthy alcohol abuse

March 18, 2000|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A man who so severely sexually abused a 10-year-old Severn girl that five months later she is still recovering from physical injuries was sentenced yesterday to the maximum 20 years in prison.

William Edward Bowman, 46, was staying with the girl's family last October when the abuse, one instance of which was witnessed by the child's brother, occurred.

"Words do fail me in this case," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck told Bowman. "I think you are one of the most dangerous people I've ever heard of."

Bowman apologized, but with the caveat that he wasn't sure if the events recounted by Assistant State's Attorney Laura Kiessling happened.

Kiessling was pleased with the sentence. "There's not more he could have done. The judge was doing something to protect society and children from a very dangerous predator," she said.

Although the maximum sentence for a second-degree sex offense is 20 years, a presentence report by probation investigators recommended up to 30 years in prison based on the crime, a "noticeable lack of remorse or concern about the victim" and on a criminal history that includes theft, drug possession, indecent exposure and three drunken driving convictions.

Bowman's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Gregory M. Walters, said his client has a longtime drinking problem and that a psychiatric evaluation approved by the court had yet to be performed. He said if Bowman did not seem sorry for his actions, it was probably because of those problems.

"I think you have someone before you who has such an entrenched alcohol problem that he doesn't know what he is doing half the time," Walters said.

Walters, turned down by the judge for a recommendation to a treatment facility within the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said he will ask Manck to change the sentence.

"I want to make sure all the mental health issues are addressed," Walters said.

Bowman pleaded guilty in January to committing a second-degree sex offense.

Five lesser charges were dropped. He has been ordered to be tested for the virus that cases AIDS and will have to register with state officials as a sex offender.

Pub Date: 3/18/00

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