November 14, 2007

Prosecutors drop 2 remaining abuse cases against teacher

Nearly three months after a Baltimore private school teacher was acquitted of sexually abusing a student, city prosecutors dropped the remaining two cases against him yesterday.

But prosecutors say they plan to use the evidence from those abandoned cases to try to keep Charles Carroll, 30, behind bars. A convicted murderer, Carroll could be sentenced to 15 years if found guilty of violating his parole. A hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.

Carroll has been in jail since his arrest in May 2005.

Parents of students at Community Initiatives Academy in East Baltimore, where Carroll taught, were stunned to learn not only of the abuse allegations but also of the teacher's past.

Carroll served six years in prison after a conviction in 1995 for second-degree murder stemming from a fight. Administrators at the Christian school knew about the conviction when they hired him in 2002.

Then, in 2005, three students at the school - two 13-year-olds and a 17-year-old - accused him of inappropriately touching them. The Sun does not name people who have made accusations of sexual assault.

In the case that went to trial this summer in Baltimore Circuit Court, a 13-year-old said Carroll raped her on a classroom floor. There was no physical evidence, and a city jury found him not guilty.

Prosecutors considered the two cases that were dropped yesterday even weaker. But parole hearings require a lesser burden of proof than do criminal proceedings - a "preponderance of the evidence" instead of "beyond a reasonable doubt."

Julie Bykowicz


: Conventions

Sacramento joins multicity package

Sacramento, Calif., will join Baltimore and Fort Worth, Texas, in an effort to lure multiyear conventions to their cities, the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association announced yesterday.

Under the arrangement, officials sell their cities to convention organizers as a multiyear package - so a convention might be held in Sacramento one year and Baltimore the next, for instance - and offer discounts to organizers who book multiple cities.

Baltimore and Fort Worth began selling themselves as a package in July. Baltimore convention officials said they had long sought a West Coast partner.

"When we developed this sales arrangement, we knew that adding a West Coast city was an important component to be successful," Tom Noonan, president and chief executive officer of the Baltimore convention association, said in a statement.

"Bringing Sacramento on board makes sense from the perspective of prestige associated with the capital city and the resources available there," he said.

John Fritze


Bank robber gets 12 1/2 years

A 34-year-old man was sentenced to 12 1/2 years in federal prison yesterday for robbing a Northeast Baltimore bank by writing a holdup note that, according to federal prosecutors, said, "Give me the money. I have a gun so be cool."

The problem was that the robber, Louis Mullen of Baltimore, wrote the note on the back of a check from his account, which was closed in 2001. And, prosecutors said, Mullen left the note at the bank.

That helped police track him down, and he was arrested at his house shortly after the April 13 holdup at Provident Bank in the 5200 block of Belair Road. Authorities said the robbery netted Mullen $526.

Prosecutors said police found clothing stained with dye from the bank money in the man's basement and a practice holdup note written on a Provident Bank deposit slip.

Harford County

: Edgewood

Cameras, lights for Edgewood

Harford County officials say they plan to install wireless cameras and floodlights in a wooded area of Edgewood that police and residents say has become a hiding place for vandals and perpetrators of other crimes in the area.

The security measures will be taken on the county-owned parcel between the First Harford Square and Windsor Valley communities, a county spokesman said yesterday. Sheriff's deputies will monitor the cameras using laptops or from the Southern Precinct station in Edgewood. The 400-watt sodium vapor lights will light the most-traveled areas and provide illumination for the cameras.

Residents have pressed the county for years to build a fence to block the paths through the woods. But county officials said the cameras and lights will be a more effective deterrent.

Mary Gail Hare

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