Bail tripled in ex-judge's porn case

Accused of downloading child images at city library

April 22, 2003|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Fresh from a six-year prison stint for the sexual assault of an underage boy, it took six weeks for former state Administrative Judge Marvin Lee Teal to get arrested in downtown Baltimore on pornography charges.

Teal, 53, who was convicted five times of sexually abusing children in the 1990s, was arrested at the central Enoch Pratt Free Library last week. He is accused of downloading pornographic images of minors on a library computer.

Yesterday, District Court Judge Nancy B. Shuger raised his bail from $25,000 to $75,000 after she reviewed his file. She also ordered him to stay away from public libraries in Maryland and to undergo a psychological evaluation.

"The court believes the safety of the public, particularly children, is paramount," Shuger said. "Given the nature of this incident and given that it occurred shortly after his release from incarceration, I am raising the bail to $75,000."

Teal, who was present via a video screen, interrupted the judge to say there is "no way" he could make the bail.

The former judge is charged with downloading pornographic images of children and of knowingly possessing such material. He could receive up to 11 years in prison if convicted.

Assistant State's Attorney Shancethea Leatherwood asked the judge to raise his bail to $1 million. "This incident took place in a public library with children around," Leatherwood said. "He poses a risk to children and a significant threat to public safety."

A judge with the Maryland Office of Administrative Hearings in the early 1990s, Teal was released from prison March 1 after serving time for molesting an 11-year-old boy in Anne Arundel County in 1996. The following year, Teal wept and apologized to the child in court.

He was arrested in that case while on probation for sexually abusing two teen-age boys in Howard County.

In 1988, he asked a three-judge panel to reduce his sentence. Instead, in a rare move, the judges doubled it.

At Teal's bail review yesterday, retired state trooper and former prison chaplain Andrew Griffiths spoke on his behalf, saying Teal, who was his clerk for five years, "fell through the cracks" of the system.

Griffiths said Teal had nowhere to go when he was released from prison last month. He later stayed in a halfway house in the 2000 block of N. Calvert St.

"He was wandering the streets, and he's not a street guy," Griffiths said. "He went straight from the bench to the prison."

Teal, who earned his law degree from the University of Baltimore in 1981, had just secured a job as a law clerk earning $40,000 a year, Griffiths said, but he hadn't started working.

"He had too much idle time on his hands," Griffiths said, attempting to explain why he went to the library.

Hours before Teal's arrest April 17, Griffiths took Teal to lunch, he said. After the meal, Griffiths gave him $20 and dropped him off at the library.

An hour later, Griffiths said, he got a call that Teal was back in jail.

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