Mta Officer Charged With Rape

Elkridge Girl, 15, Told Police She Sought Aid Getting Home

June 30, 2009|By Justin Fenton and and Michael Dresser | Justin Fenton and and Michael Dresser,justin.fenton@baltsun.com and Michael.dresser@baltsun.com

A Maryland Transit Administration police officer has been charged with raping a 15-year-old Elkridge girl who asked him for help finding her way home on the light rail, according to charging documents.

Officer Donald Brown was taken into custody June 24 after Howard County police were contacted by a case worker for a local foster care organization. The girl told police that she thought she was being escorted to a police station to make arrangements to get home but was instead taken to Brown's top-floor apartment in downtown Baltimore, where they had sex.

He then gave her $25 to get back home and told her to leave, according to police.

Brown was charged with first-degree rape, various sex offense charges, use of a handgun in a violent crime and kidnapping a child under age 16. He was initially ordered held without bond, though a District Court judge on Thursday set a bail at $500,000. He remained in custody Monday afternoon.

MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene confirmed that Brown is a member of the force and said he has been suspended without pay. She said the agency could not comment further.

"We do take these charges very seriously," she said. "These charges are troubling, but we need to allow the judicial process to work its course."

Greene said Brown had been an MTA officer for about two years. She said the MTA works closely with the Baltimore city and Anne Arundel County police departments, whose academies are used to train MTA officer recruits, screen applicants and conduct background checks.

The MTA police is a force of 165 sworn officers and about 90 civilian workers. The department is the primary law enforcement agency on the light rail and Metro subway systems and aboard city buses.

Parkville attorney Perry London, identified in court records as Brown's attorney, did not return a phone call seeking comment Monday.

According to charging documents, the girl gave identical accounts to Howard County police and Baltimore police, who later picked up the investigation.

In her statement, she said she got lost June 20 and ended up on the light rail in Linthicum. She saw three uniformed police officers and asked if she could use a phone to call home.

One of the officers let her use his phone and asked her what she needed. She said she needed to get back to Elkridge, and the officer told her to come with him to a police station and that he would help her, according to charging documents.

The girl said they rode the light rail to the Lexington Market stop and walked to a parking garage, where they rode the elevator to the 17th floor. The officer then led her into an apartment in the 300 block of W. Fayette St. and locked the door, she said.

"He then asked her what she would do to get home," according to documents.

The girl said the officer began to touch her inappropriately and that she told him to stop but he became angry. He was wearing his gun belt, which made her nervous, and she complied, documents say. During intercourse, the girl said, she noticed the officer's nameplate read "Brown."

Later, he gave her $25 with a piece of paper with the name "Donald" on it and told her to leave, charging documents say.

The girl initially refused a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam before participating in a forensic interview at the Baltimore Child Abuse Center on June 24.

City police checked police agency personnel rosters and found a Donald Brown employed by the transit police, and a check with the agency revealed Brown may have been working the area on that date. Transit police ordered all video connected with light rail cars, the Linthicum stop, and the Lexington Market stop as well as a list of officers working on June 20.

The girl, meanwhile, picked Brown out of a photo array of six people, and took police to the Avalon Centerpoint apartment building where she said the rape occurred.

According to charging documents, the girl's foster mother initially refused to allow detectives to interview the girl and said she was unaware of the girl's whereabouts at the time of the alleged incident. Police later located the girl but noted that they had not been able to make contact with the foster mother.

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