Top court upholds revocation of child sex offender's real estate license

Agent fought to keep livelihood

October 30, 2011|By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland's highest court has upheld a state panel's decision to strip a real estate agent of his professional license because he is a convicted child sex offender.

The Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Real Estate Commission, which licenses and disciplines agents, acted within its bounds when it decided in 2008 that the convictions were a stain on the agent's character and spoke to his trustworthiness in dealing with the public.

The ruling affirmed the decision of two lower courts.

The attorney general's office, which argued the case for the commission, had contended that the state board was protecting the public. The agent's friends may have chosen to support him despite the convictions, state lawyers argued, but consumers rely on licensing boards.

The longtime real estate agent, fighting to retain his livelihood, had maintained that the felony convictions for sexually abusing his young relatives were unrelated to his work, that he was disciplined too harshly by the commission and that the nature of the crimes seemed to trump his long, unblemished career.

The man pleaded guilty in 2007 in Anne Arundel County to molesting the children, served a one-year jail term and was placed on the state's sex offender registry. He had molested his young relatives over 15 years, sometimes when other adults were in the house, continuing to do it after apologizing and failing to seek therapy on his own.

The Baltimore Sun is not naming the agent because it could identify the victims. The Sun does not name victims of sexual abuse.

The agent's therapists had told state officials that he was unlikely to reoffend, and the agent contended that he did not deal with children in his job, but with adults.

The commission countered that agents have access to homes through lockboxes and there could be unsupervised children at home, that adults may bring their children with them when house-hunting, and that there may be children in a home he is showing.

While his license revocation was pending, he was working from his Glen Burnie home.

andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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