Crime Watch

April 29, 2008

Balto. Co. teacher charged in sex abuse

A Baltimore County physical education teacher has been charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl for more than two years at his Parkville home, police said yesterday.

Timothy Allen Rhodes, 42, of the 8300 block of Oakleigh Road was arrested and charged Thursday with sex abuse of a minor, second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault and third-degree sex offense, according to police. Rhodes posted bail on a $250,000 bond, police said yesterday.

Rhodes has taught physical education at Pleasant Plains Elementary in Towson since joining the county school system in 2000, Baltimore County schools spokesman Charles A. Herndon confirmed yesterday.

The school system's policy is to place employees facing criminal charges on administrative leave, but Herndon said he could not confirm Rhodes' employment status because it is a personnel matter.

"I can't speak about individual cases," Herndon said.

According to Baltimore County police, the girl and her mother contacted police April 11 after the girl told her mother about the abuse and indicated that she wanted to change schools.

Noting student privacy concerns, Herndon declined to say where the girl attends school.

Rhodes' wife watched the girl before and after school to help the victim's mother, who was going to school, police said.

The abuse - which began in early 2005 and lasted until November 2007 - occurred 20 to 30 times at Rhodes' home, according to authorities.

Police said the teacher is alleged to have abused the girl on nights when she stayed at his house, and after his wife went to work at night. He would touch the girl when she went to sleep and on occasion engaged in oral sex with her, authorities said.

County police are asking anyone with information about other possible victims to contact the department's Crimes Against Children Unit at 410-853-3650.

Gina Davis

Police charge man in Carroll robbery

A Westminster man has been arrested and charged in the armed robbery of a Carroll County convenience store, state police said.

Nolan Howard Guinn, 23, is being held in the Carroll County Detention Center on $250,000 bail. Charges includes first- and second-degree assault, robbery, armed robbery, controlled dangerous substance possession (not marijuana), theft of less than $500 and possession of marijuana.

Guinn is accused in the armed robbery April 21 of the High's store in the 400 block of E. Main St. in Westminster.

State police arrested him Friday at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster, where Guinn had checked himself in, said a spokesman at the Westminster barracks.

Ellie Baublitz

MTA officer gets 5 years in fraud case

A police officer for the Maryland Transit Administration was sentenced yesterday in federal court to five years in prison for his role in a scheme to burn vehicles owned by transit employees for the insurance money, said the Maryland U.S. attorney's office.

James Walthall, 41, of Randallstown had pleaded guilty to mail fraud in February. He had arranged to burn a vehicle he owned and two vehicles owned by other MTA employees, according to federal prosecutors, to avoid repossession and loan payments - ensuring the car insurance companies paid the outstanding loan balances.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Andre M. Davis sentenced Walthall to three years of supervised release.

"James Walthall repeatedly broke the law and violated his oath as a law enforcement officer by committing multiple arsons and defrauding insurance companies," U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement. "It is especially egregious that Walthall involved other people in his scheme."

Walthall's police powers had been suspended since charges were filed, according to MTA police officers, and he resigned from the force when he pleaded guilty.

An MTA bus driver, Lucretia Westbrook, and an MTA police officer, Ronald Lurz, who were involved in the scheme have pleaded guilty, federal prosecutors said. Neither has been sentenced.

Man shot, wounded in Annapolis

A man was shot yesterday afternoon in a residential neighborhood of Annapolis and was taken to a hospital for treatment of wounds, the seriousness of which had not been determined, an Annapolis police spokesman said.

Police responding to a report of shots fired in the 1000 block of President St. in the Eastport Terrace community about 2:30 p.m. found the man, whose name was not released, bleeding from at least one gunshot wound, said Cpl. Hal Dalton, the spokesman.

Dalton said the victim was taken by Fire Department ambulance to Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 410-268-4141.

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