Md. denies being told of rape suspect's return from Va.

Juvenile officials say Virginia didn't notify them

December 24, 2009|By Justin Fenton | justin.fenton@baltsun.com

Maryland's juvenile services agency pushed back Wednesday against claims that Virginia officials had notified them that a rape suspect under police surveillance there would be returning to Baltimore to visit relatives for the holidays.

Tammy Brown, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, said state officials received a fax Tuesday indicating that 19-year-old Donald Vaughan would be in the area. That's a day after Vaughan had been arrested and charged with raping and slashing the throat of a Canton woman after he shoveled her front walkway, and Brown said the notification came only after Maryland officials made an inquiry.

"Our caseworker received a progress report [Tuesday], and that's because my caseworker asked," Brown said.

A spokesman with Virginia's Department of Juvenile Justice did not return a telephone message seeking a response. Other officials with the agency declined to comment, saying they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

Though he is an adult, Vaughan was committed to the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services in connection with several crimes he committed as a juvenile. In late September, he was allowed to move to Kilmarnock, Va., to live with his mother.

Under interstate agreements, Virginia assumed responsibility of supervising Vaughan's juvenile probation and was required to notify Maryland officials if he was to return.

During his stay in Virginia, Vaughan had emerged as a suspect in rapes that occurred Nov. 28 and Dec. 1 in the small town. He had denied involvement in the crime, and had been under surveillance for two weeks as police awaited DNA results.

Officials with the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office and Kilmarnock Police Department said this week that they thought juvenile officials in the two states had communicated. Kilmarnock Police Chief Michael Bedell told The Baltimore Sun that "we made sure our probation and parole notified Baltimore's that he was coming."

Brown said that notification was never carried out by juvenile justice officials.

"Our interstate compact person has not received a thing," Brown said.

Brown was unsure what response such a notification might have triggered, saying she believes Maryland officials could have protested his travel plans or sent a caseworker to contact him upon arrival.

Vaughan was arrested Monday in Baltimore and charged with rape and attempted murder, and city and Virginia authorities say he confessed to the three attacks in two states. Charges are pending in Virginia, they say, while Vaughan is being held at Central Booking without bail.

While Kilmarnock officials praised the work of their police forces, in an interview Tuesday, Kilmarnock Town Manager Tom Saunders said residents have questions about the probation system.

"There is a feeling of regret that our inability to move quicker may have led to more suffering," Saunders said. "The whole parole system is not well understood, and there's a bit of bewilderment that he could move [to Kilmarnock] or go back to Baltimore."

An earlier version of this story misidentified Donald Vaughan. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.



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