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Man found guilty of sex abuse at Columbia school for the deaf

Abusive BehaviorJustice SystemCourts and the JudiciaryMaryland School for the Deaf

A Howard County Circuit Court jury in the Maryland School for the Deaf sex abuse case handed down a mixed result Wedneday, finding the defendant guilty of two charges of child sexual abuse, not guilty of one count and declaring a mistrial in the four remaining counts. 

Clarence Cepheus Taylor III, 38, was found guilty by the 12-member jury, who began deliberations Friday, of groping two girls while working as an aide at the school from 2008 to 2011. 

Taylor, who is deaf, had his bond revoked by Judge Willaim V. Tucker and is scheduled to be sentenced on the two guilty verdicts on Jan. 31, 2014, with a retrial on the four non-decision counts scheduled for May 21, 2014.

Earlier in the trial, three counts of solicitation of child pornography were dropped by the State's Attorney's office after the prosecution could not prove the events happened in Howard County.

Those charges accused Taylor of text messaging three of the students and requesting pictures of their breasts, according to the prosecution. 

Taylor faces a maximum of 50 years in prison -- 25 years for each guilty count. According to prosecutor and Assistant State's Attorney Lisa Broten, the state's recommendations for such convictions usually fall between seven and 13 years per count.

As Taylor was handcuffed after his bond was revoked, his wife, who is on leave from her employment at the school, left the courtroom fighthing tears.

Taylor's defense attorney, Brandon Mead, said he recommended Taylor file an appeal, citing Tucker's jury instructions.

According to Mead, Tucker wrongfully instructed the jury to consider each case in light of one another, while the law requires they be considered separately.

"I don’t think they met (the burden of proof) in the slightest," Mead said regarding the state's case. "I don’t think any reasonable juror given the right instruction could have reached a verdict of guilty in this case."

Mead said he recommended Taylor pursue his appeal and further representation in the four oustanding charges with the office of the public defender because of cost.

Check back for updates as they become available.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Abusive BehaviorJustice SystemCourts and the JudiciaryMaryland School for the Deaf
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