Hyde says he was pressed to apologize

Ex-Carroll schools chief accused of raping girl

March 12, 2003|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Former Carroll County schools Superintendent William H. Hyde took the witness stand yesterday in a pretrial hearing on charges that he raped and molested an elementary school-age girl, describing a verbal and emotional "beating" he said he took before saying in an apology letter that he had inappropriately touched the girl.

"My sense was they were dictating what needed to be said," Hyde, 61, testified, referring to the girl's mother and to investigators who interrogated him in the hours before his arrest in August at the Maryland State Police barracks in Westminster.

"I felt like I was being beaten. ... It was constant. Mentally. Verbally. Emotionally."

During testimony earlier in the day, the lead investigator in the case, Ruth Ann Arty, revealed that authorities in Virginia also have interviewed the girl about alleged sexual abuse that the girl said occurred in Williamsburg.

Arty testified that the girl told her that what happened at her family's home - alleged abuse in which Hyde has been charged - also occurred in Williamsburg. Arty, who testified that Hyde was in Williamsburg for the Fourth of July weekend, referred those allegations to authorities there.

Capt. James Richardson, commander of the investigation division of the York County, Va., sheriff's office, said last night that his department is investigating an aggravated sexual battery complaint involving a child at a Williamsburg hotel between July 3 and July 6.

He could not say whether the complaint involved Hyde and that he would need an arrest warrant before identifying a suspect, he said.

"But I can tell you we are investigating," Richardson said.

Hyde showed little emotion yesterday in court during the second day of testimony in response to his attorneys' requests that a Carroll Circuit Court judge bar from the trial Hyde's statements to police, two apology letters to the girl and other evidence.

Hyde was an assistant superintendent of the Carroll public schools from 1987 until 1998, when he was appointed superintendent. He quit in August 2000 to take a job in a small school system in Montana, and he left that position last summer to become an educational consultant.

Hyde was charged in August with sexual child abuse, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and second-degree assault. He was indicted on similar charges in September.

A county grand jury added a new and more serious count last week, charging him with raping the girl he is accused of molesting. Hyde, who has been free on bail and living in Idaho since his arrest, could receive up to 20 years in prison if convicted of second-degree rape.

Calling his client to the stand, defense attorney Edward M. Ulsch gave Hyde a chance to explain what happened in the hours leading to his arrest.

Hyde described the shock of learning of the allegations against him Aug. 7, hours after a divorce hearing that ended his marriage of 41 years.

He testified that he hardly ate or slept much of the night and spent most of the evening compiling a timeline for Arty of his activities during a visit to Westminster in July, when the sexual abuse is alleged to have occurred.

He met with Arty at 8 the next morning and testified that by the time he got to the police barracks less than two hours later to take a lie-detector test, he was "really tense" and had "knots in my system."

During the interrogation after the polygraph test that he failed, he felt worse, Hyde testified.

Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. made no ruling yesterday. Attorneys are scheduled to offer their arguments on the defense motions this morning. Hyde's trial is scheduled for June 23.

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