Week In Review

December 09, 2007

Anne Arundel

Man convicted of 2002 rape

A 39-year-old Baltimore man was convicted last week of raping a Russian teenager who was living in Anne Arundel County as part of a work exchange program in 2002.

An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury found Kelroy Williamson, who was linked to the crime through DNA evidence, guilty of first-degree rape and assault. He could face life in prison.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathleen E. Rogers said after the verdict, "I'm thrilled. Mostly for [the victim]. DNA is such a wonderful tool."

The victim, who was 19 at the time, was walking to work about 5 a.m. Sept. 21, 2002, from her home in Pioneer City when Williamson pulled her into a wooded area and assaulted her.

The Sun does not identify victims of sexual assault.

Maryland section, Saturday

Chesapeake

Bay Bridge Walk to take a hiatus

The Bay Bridge Walk, a popular event that opens the span over the Chesapeake Bay to foot traffic one Sunday a year, will not be held next year or in 2009, the Maryland Transportation Authority said yesterday.

The agency, which operates the state's toll facilities, said a bridge-repair project will take up space needed to stage the event. Because the walk was canceled this year because of weather, the decision means Maryland will go three straight years without holding an event that has attracted thousands of visitors to see the bay from a new perspective.

"This was certainly a difficult decision to make, and we did not take it lightly," said Ronald L. Freeland, executive secretary of the authority.

The agency explained that an area near the base of the eastbound span that had been used for boarding buses will be used for storing equipment and construction materials during deck-replacement work.

Maryland section, Friday

Annapolis

Navy chaplain sentenced to prison

A Navy chaplain was sentenced to two years in prison last week after admitting that he forced himself on a Naval Academy midshipman, coerced a Marine he was counseling to take nude photos of him and had sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing that he was HIV-positive.

Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Matthew Lee, 42, pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including aggravated assault, fraternization, forcible sodomy, conduct unbecoming an officer and wrongful use of his government computer, as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Marine Corps Col. Steven Day also ordered him to reveal the names of all of his sex partners going back to 2005, when Lee learned that he had the virus that causes AIDS. Day also suspended 10 years of a 12-year sentence on the condition that Lee complies with the terms of a plea agreement.

Maryland section, Friday

Anne Arundel

Leopold to press on with waterway plan

Unthwarted by the defeat of his plan to raise $5.4 million a year to restore local waterways damaged by runoff, Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold said last week that he would resubmit the legislation this month "with refinements."

Three County Council members effectively killed Leopold's proposal to charge a fee on most future development two weeks ago by amending the legislation to make it a utility fund fed by an annual charge on most property owners. But, by a 4-3 vote, the Republican-majority council rejected the altered version Monday night after more than two hours of testimony from 66 people. The vast majority -- including environmentalists, watermen, developers and other business interests -- voiced their support for a proposal by Councilmen Ronald C. Dillon Jr., a Republican, and Josh Cohen and Jamie Benoit, both Democrats, to create a $10 million "all-payer" system.

Leopold, who opposed the amended proposal, said his original one stands the best chance of political success, given the county's tax-averse climate and the fact that taxpayers are funding $11.2 million in the current budget to restore streams, dredge rivers and retrofit storm drains and culverts.

Before he resubmits his bill Dec. 17, however, Leopold said he would consult with council members on what the refinements will be. He would not elaborate.

Anne Arundel section, Wednesday

Severna Park

Court says pier may not be stopped

Neighbors do not have the authority to stop property owners from building a 610-foot pier and bridge, the state's highest court ruled unanimously yesterday, dealing a decisive blow to a Severna Park community association.

The Court of Appeals upheld a February ruling by the Court of Special Appeals, which found that Paul and Joan Gunby had the right to expect access to a Severn River cove, and that it had never been expressly denied.

The case is expected to return to Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, which had sided with Olde Severna Park Improvement Association Inc., for a ruling on the issuance of a state license to allow the 410-foot bridge and connecting 200-foot pier.

Since the three-year fight began, the Gunbys sold the 2.2-acre property on Sullivan Cove to Dann and Janet Thomasson, who were persuaded to pursue the case.

"The significant part of this decision is that it reinforces the long-standing principle that someone who purchases waterfront property expects to obtain riparian rights, unless the conveyance of riparian rights is expressing excluded in the deed," said Frederick C. Sussman, an attorney representing the Thomassons.

Maryland section, Tuesday

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