Former county firefighter pleads guilty to child sexual abuse

A former volunteer firefighter who worked with youths at the Lansdowne department pleaded guilty Monday to sexually abusing a teenage boy he mentored in a training program at the station.

Anthony Maurice Cottle, 23, who appeared Monday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, also faces federal charges.

Cottle, a resident of Owings Mills, was also a paid firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department. He has been suspended without pay from that department since being charged in October.

Chris Lancaster Sr., assistant chief of operations at Lansdowne, declined to comment Monday.

Cottle's attorney, John Grason Turnbull III, also declined to comment Monday.

Prosecutors said Cottle engaged in sexual acts with the boy numerous times, sometimes videotaping their encounters. Police recovered the videos from electronic files after seizing Cottle's laptop and cellphone.

The victim's mother had believed Cottle would be a positive male role model. Cottle would often buy the victim alcohol before engaging in sexual acts — on at least two occasions at the fire station, including the fire chief's office, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said a second victim was present during some of the sexual acts, but that victim denied being sexually involved with Cottle.

One of the boys contacted police about the abuse.

Cottle was federally indicted on charges of producing and possessing child pornography for allegedly filming himself engaging in sexual acts with the victim and making an explicit video of another victim.

His sentencing in Baltimore County is scheduled for June 24. No federal court date has been set.

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