Ex-schools chief accused of rape

Carroll grand jury adds charge in molestation case

March 07, 2003|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County grand jury added a more serious charge yesterday to the indictment of former county schools Superintendent William H. Hyde, charging him with raping the elementary school-age girl he had been accused of molesting.

Hyde, 61, who left Carroll County with two years left in his contract to run a small school system in Montana, could receive up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the second-degree rape charge. He also is charged with two counts of sexual child abuse, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and one count of second-degree assault. He has been free on bail and living in Idaho since his arrest Aug. 8 in Westminster.

Attempts to reach Hyde yesterday were unsuccessful, and his lawyers did not return phone calls.

Investigators attributed the nearly seven-month lag between Hyde's arrest and yesterday's indictment to the recent discovery of information. After intensive therapy, the young girl Hyde is accused of abusing told authorities that in addition to being molested - as alleged in the original charges - that she also had been subjected to sexual intercourse.

"It's not uncommon in cases such as these for information to come out, in some cases six months later and in some cases 10 years later," said Maryland State Police Sgt. James T. DeWees, supervisor of Carroll County's child abuse and sexual assault unit. "This child has gone through therapy and has recently disclosed some information that was not disclosed earlier. As police officers, we proceeded from there."

The original charges stemmed from an alleged incident July 15 at the home of the girl's family, court records show. An examination of the girl "showed evidence consistent with long-term sexual abuse and a recent injury consistent with genital contact," according to court documents.

Police arrested Hyde in August at the Maryland State Police barracks in Westminster, where investigators had spent nearly all day questioning him about the suspected abuse. He had been in town for a divorce hearing. A grand jury indicted him on the charges about a month later.

With the new charge, authorities have accused Hyde of raping and sexually abusing the girl between July 11 and July 12 at the same home, according to the indictment. Authorities issued a criminal summons for Hyde yesterday, which will be delivered to his Westminster attorney, Kathi Hill.

Hyde has waived his right to fight extradition to Maryland for trial.

Hyde abruptly resigned from the Carroll school system 2 1/2 years ago amid a grand jury investigation into bungled school construction projects and mismanagement of the 28,000-student school system. He took a job as superintendent of the 222-student Seeley Lake Elementary School District in northwestern Montana.

Carroll authorities wrapped up their investigation - without filing criminal charges - shortly after two-term Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker accepted an appointment as Carroll's interim superintendent. That temporary position became a four-year term in July.

Hyde was an assistant superintendent in the Carroll school district from 1987 to 1998, when he became superintendent. After leaving Carroll, he spent two years in Seeley Lake, where school board members wanted to renew his contract, but Hyde told them that he wanted to work as an educational consultant.

Authorities and school officials in Maryland and Montana have said they have no reason to suspect Hyde of abusing students during his 39-year career in education.

Carroll County State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes said yesterday that he does not intend to ask for changes in Hyde's $50,000 bail or conditions of release.

"We really have no reason to believe he is not willing to appear [for court] or that it's going to be a problem," Barnes said.

Hyde filed a change of address form with Carroll Circuit Court on Aug. 26, indicating a move from a girlfriend's house in Moscow, Idaho, to the small town of Sagle, about 125 miles away in Bonner County, Idaho, in the northern tip of the state.

He is scheduled to appear in court Monday for a motions hearing, and a trial is scheduled for June.

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