Teen pleads guilty to raping girl who was at playground

December 08, 2009|By Andrea F. Siegel | andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

Prosecutors will seek the maximum sentence, life in prison, for a 17-year-old boy who pleaded guilty Tuesday to first-degree rape of a 7-year-old girl he took from the playground of his Crofton neighborhood.

But the attorney for David B. Raszewski, of the 1700 block of Granite Court, said he will propose that Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge William C. Mulford II sentence the teen-ager more like a juvenile -- not confine him to an adult state prison and, instead, ensure he receives treatment. Sentencing was scheduled for February.

Raszewski, in baggy green clothes from the county jail, appeared calm during the proceeding. The victim's parents fled from the courtroom as Assistant State's Attorney Sandra Howell described the sexual assault in detail.

"This case epitomizes every caretaker and every parent's worst nightmare," Howell said outside the courtroom.

The plea, she said, provided a conviction for the most serious of the 19 charges without having the young victim testify.

The March 20 crime terrified the Crofton community, where some residents criticized police for not immediately alerting them to a report of a rape. The victim was so clear and thorough in her description of her attacker and his home that people quickly apprehended Raszewski, Howell said.

The girl was at the playground with her younger brother and their babysitter. The sitter left her on a swing shortly before 4 p.m. to take the boy to the bathroom. When she returned, the girl was gone, Howell said.

Raszewski, who had seen the girl at the playground previously, asked her help in moving things in his home. She went. There, he sexually assaulted her in his room, Howell said.

Raszewski ended his assault when the girl struggled and cried to leave. He gave her $3, she said.

Meanwhile, the sitter ran home. As she frantically called police, the child appeared crying at the door, Howell said. Questioned by police, Raszewski at first denied any role in the assault, then confessed.

"What do you do with some who is a juvenile in a situation like this?" James Crawford Jr., Raszewski's attorney said afterward, explaining that his client has an autism spectrum disorder and learning disabilities -- and, he said, does not belong in an adult prison.

Earlier this year, he was not successful in shifting the case to juvenile court. "I'm looking for the court to apply a juvenile based sentence to someone in the adult system."

Raszewski's father sat alone and somberly throughout the hearing. "I'm just terribly sad about the whole thing," Mark Raszewski said afterward.

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