Probation-violation case to be dropped

Aim was to keep parolee behind bars

January 16, 2008|By Melissa Harris | Melissa Harris,Sun reporter

City prosecutors said they will drop today a violation of probation charge intended to keep paroled murderer Charles Carroll behind bars after he was acquitted of raping a girl at a private Christian school.

A probation violation could have kept Carroll, 31, in prison for up to 23 years.

Carroll was convicted of second-degree murder in 1995 and sentenced to 30 years in prison, half of it suspended. He served six years and 11 months of that sentence before being released on parole, according to prosecutors.

After his release, Carroll went to work as a teacher at Community Initiatives Academy in East Baltimore, where prosecutors alleged that he raped a 13-year-old student on a classroom floor and sexually assaulted two other students. A jury acquitted Carroll of rape in August, and prosecutors dropped the two other cases.

Prosecutors had seen the violation of probation charge - which has a lesser standard of proof and is decided by a judge - as a way of keeping Carroll behind bars, despite failures in the sexual assault cases.

But Deputy State's Attorney Cynthia H. Jones said yesterday that prosecutors had to drop the violation of probation charge because the girl accusing him of rape declined to testify at the hearing scheduled for today in Baltimore Circuit Court.

Jones said, however, that the girl will testify at a hearing on the revocation of Carroll's parole from prison.

Had city prosecutors moved forward with the violation of probation charge, Carroll could have faced up to 23 more years in prison - the balance of the judge's 30-year sentence.

Now, however, Carroll could face a maximum of eight more years in prison - the balance of his 15-year suspended sentence - if he is found to have violated parole. The Maryland Parole Commission will make the decision.

"We described the context of both hearings to the victim and her parent, and they decided," Jones said.

When asked whether the more public nature of the probation violation hearing, which is held in open court, factored into the girl's decision, Jones said that the girl weighed "many factors."

Carroll will remain in prison at the Maryland Correction Institution in Jessup until his parole hearing, which has not been scheduled, said Elizabeth Bartholomew, spokeswoman for the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation. He has been behind bars since his arrest on the sexual assault charges in 2005.

Carroll's defense attorney, Edward Smith Jr., could not be reached late yesterday.

melissa.harris@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Julie Bykowicz contributed to this article.

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