State rests case in sex abuse trial of former Columbia school employee

November 07, 2013|By Luke Lavoie,

After eight days of testimony, the prosecution rested its case Thursday afternoon in the Howard County sex abuse trial of a former employee for the Maryland School for the Deaf in Columbia.  

Clarence Cepheus Taylor III, 38, of Baltimore County, is a former student life counselor and dormitory aid accused of sexually abusing seven deaf girls who were students at the school between 2008 and 2011.

According to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan, Judge William V. Tucker allowed Taylor to sleep on his decision to testify on his behalf on Friday. Kirwan said Taylor's defense attorney Brandon Mead is expected to move that Taylor be acquitted on Friday before presenting his case in Taylor's defense.

After Taylor's arrest in December of 2012, Mead said said the allegations against Talyor, who is deaf, are "preposterous."

Taylor faces seven counts of sex abuse and three counts of child pornography, all felonies. 

Police began investigating Taylor 11 months ago after one of the seven alleged victims told a teacher about the incidents after learning she may not have been the only one.

According to police, the three who originally stepped forward, now ages 16 and 17, told police that Taylor touched them inappropriately on multiple occasions while they were overnight students at the school, located in the 8100 block of Old Montgomery Road.

Police said one girl reported Taylor would hug her and rub his hand across her breast in the hallway of the school's dormitory. The incidents began when she was 12 and continued one more year, police said.

Two other girls told police Taylor would repeatedly brush their breasts and backside with his hand in the common area of the dorm. They also said Taylor kissed them.  One girl said the incidents occurred when she was between 10 and 12; the other girl when she was 13.

After the jury was seated and before opening statements last week, Tucker forbade any sign language communication in the courtroom, with the exception the four official courtroom interpreters and those communicating to the interpreters. 

The rule was enforced because a number of the victims and witnesses in the trial are deaf. 

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