Hyde must complete probation

Carroll judge rejects ex-superintendent's request in 2003 child molestation case

May 18, 2006|By GINA DAVIS | GINA DAVIS,SUN REPORTER

Saying he had shown enough mercy to former Carroll County schools Superintendent William H. Hyde - convicted in 2003 for molesting an elementary school-age girl - a judge yesterday denied Hyde's request to terminate the balance of his five-year probation.

Hyde, 64, was charged in August 2002 with raping and sexually abusing the girl at her family's Westminster home during a 2 1/2 -week visit to Carroll County two months earlier.

In January 2004, Carroll Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns sentenced Hyde to serve 18 months of a 15-year prison term and gave him five years of probation - the first three years supervised, the latter two years unsupervised. The judge also ordered him to pay $4,455 in restitution and to cover the cost of future therapy for the girl.

In January 2005, Hyde was released from the Carroll County Detention Center after serving less than 12 months of the 18-month term.

In court yesterday, Hyde's attorney, Edward M. Ulsch, said Hyde had done many "good works" while he was in jail, such as tutoring inmates studying for their GEDs and purchasing books that he donated to the jail library.

Ulsch said Hyde, who lives in Garrett County, has been rehabilitating a home in which he lives and plans to sell it below market value to a needy family.

"He has always believed in his innocence but still respects the judge's decision [to convict him]," Ulsch told the judge. "He has made a positive out of a negative."

But David P. Daggett, deputy state's attorney for Carroll County, asked the judge to require Hyde to remain on probation. "It is very little penance to ask of him," Daggett said. "He has another year and a half on supervised probation. I don't think that's asking too much of Mr. Hyde."

Burns agreed and ruled that for the benefit of the victim, who sat on the first row of benches at the hearing with her parents, Hyde should serve the rest of his probation.

"The defendant pointed out that the court showed some mercy and compassion at sentencing," Burns said. "I think my sentence clearly reflected - after hearing eight or nine days of testimony and finding the defendant guilty - that the court could still exercise compassion."

Before Burns issued his ruling, the girl's parents pleaded with him to require Hyde to serve the rest of his probation.

The girl "will be carrying the scar of this for the rest of her life," said her father. "Good deeds in the past can't erase the scars she's carrying now."

The Sun, which does not report the names of sex abuse victims, is not identifying the parents to protect the girl's identity.

Hyde - who must register annually as a sex offender in whatever state he resides - pleaded guilty last summer to assault and battery in a Virginia case involving the same Westminster girl. He was sentenced to 12 months in the Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail but has been released.

gina.davis@baltsun.com

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