Police have arrested the 22-year-old live-in boyfriend of a woman whose 7-year-old daughter contracted a sexually transmitted disease, charging him with second-degree rape.
The suspect, a West Baltimore man who is not being identified to protect the privacy of the victim, was arrested Tuesday after giving an account of the incident to detectives in the Police Department's child abuse unit. The girl was taken to University of Maryland Medical Center on May 11 and was found to have gonorrhea.
The case was reported the same day police received a report that an 18-month-old from Cherry Hill had contracted gonorrhea. Police say that case remains under investigation.
Adam Rosenberg, executive director of the Baltimore Child Abuse Center, said the center saw 868 child abuse victims last year, the majority of whom were abused by someone known to them. He said of those cases, 20 children tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases.
"The outrage meter tends to go a little higher when there's a physical manifestation of a sexually transmitted disease, but the unfortunate side is that this occurs more often than we think," Rosenberg said. "We're seeing more younger kids [test positive], but that may be because the testing has become more reliable and much easier to do."
In the West Baltimore case, the mother said she did not know how the girl contracted the disease, and the girl did not provide any information about what happened, records show. The next day, the mother went to Mercy Medical Center and was tested for the disease.
Detectives followed up at the family home in the 1600 block of Booker Court on May 14. The mother's live-in boyfriend was home "and stated that he wanted to prove he didn't do anything so he stated he was willing to go and get tested," detectives wrote in charging documents.
While the couple were at the hospital that night, the mother was informed that she had tested positive for gonorrhea, and both adults were treated for the disease that night, records show.
The couple came to the police child abuse unit on Tuesday, and the boyfriend agreed to speak with detectives, acknowledging sexual contact with the girl, police wrote in charging documents.
The suspect faces second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and custodial child abuse charges. He was being held without bail.
His criminal record includes minor drug convictions and convictions for car theft and assault.
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