Howard man charged with assaulting boy

43-year-old says he was playing with child

March 20, 2004|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,SUN STAFF

Howard County police arrested a 43-year-old man in Ellicott City on Thursday night and accused him of grabbing and trying to force a 6-year-old boy to walk with him on a sidewalk - a charge the man vehemently denied yesterday.

The boy - who police said broke free and ran away - gave police a description of the man. Police later arrested Michael A. Kouroupis of the 8800 block of Manahan Drive and charged him with assault.

Kouroupis was released after posting an unspecified bond, police said.

Reached at home last night, Kouroupis characterized the incident as a misunderstanding in a neighborhood where children are constantly playing with him. He said he was out for a walk when he passed four children. Two of them approached him - one of whom was his accuser - and were hanging on his arms, he said.

He thinks a neighbor or a passer-by saw the scene, misconstrued it as an assault and called police.

According to police, a person called about 5 p.m. to report that he saw a man grab a small child by the arm and force the child to walk with him. The caller saw the boy break away and run, police said.

Officers found Kouroupis in the neighborhood and asked him to stop, but he kept walking, police said. After a brief pursuit, the officer stopped and detained him, police said.

"I stopped when I heard them say stop," Kouroupis said.

Another officer found the boy in the neighborhood, police said. He told police that a man known to him as "Billy" grabbed him and tried to force him to walk along the sidewalk. He said he believed the man was trying to take him somewhere, and he later identified Kouroupis.

Kouroupis, who has a son named Billy, said he's known among neighborhood children as "Billy's dad."

His next-door neighbors - Bob and Pam Aslin - yesterday said the charge against Kouroupis was "ludicrous."

"When he comes home, kids run up to his car and play," Bob Aslin said. "They like Mike. ... That's a bunch of garbage."

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