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Alleged victim testifies in sex abuse of minor case

The state will continue to present its case Tuesday in the trial of a Westminster man who is accused of sexual abuse of a minor and other related offenses.

A jury heard opening arguments and testimony from the alleged victim, now 12, Monday as well as the alleged victim's mother in the case against Martin Brennan, 57, of the 2100 block of Sykesville Road.

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Brennan is charged with sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree sex offense, third-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and unnatural or perverted practice, according to the synopsis given to the jury by Judge Michael M. Galloway.

Defense attorney Tae H. Kim said in his opening statement that Brennan was the victim of extortion from the victim's mother and her boyfriend's family, many of whom have criminal records as well as a history of drug use.

"This case is about a shakedown of Mr. Brennan," Kim said. "It's blackmail."

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo told the jury in her opening statement about the alleged blackmail and that some of the witnesses would have criminal records.

"You make not like some of the adults in [the victim's] life," she said. "Don't let that cloud the purpose for which we are here."

According to the alleged victim, who was 11 at the time of the alleged abuse, he was spending the night on the couch of the defendant, with whom his family was acquainted, in December 2012.

Earlier in the day, the alleged victim and his family had been visiting, and his mother allegedly mentioned her son spending the night, according to his testimony. The alleged victim's mother would later testify that it was her son who initially mentioned spending the night.

The alleged victim then said that he did not want to spend the night and left with his family, but his mother again brought up her son spending the night, and he changed his mind and returned to Brennan's residence.

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According to the alleged victim, Brennan initially slept on another couch but then moved to the floor close to the couch where the boy was sleeping. The alleged victim said that he fell asleep, and when he woke up, the defendant was allegedly touching him inappropriately and attempting to perform oral sex.

The alleged victim said he immediately began crying and went across the hall to the apartment of the son of his mother's boyfriend and told him what had happened.

The alleged victim was then taken to his home in Manchester where he resided with his mother, her boyfriend and his family, according to the alleged victim. According to his mother, the alleged victim was "crying hysterically" when he came home, and she said she had never seen him that upset.

Several of the adults then allegedly took the boy back to the defendant's residence and confronted him before the police were eventually called.

Kim said when the group arrived at Brennan's residence, the alleged victim's mother initially demanded money from him in exchange for not involving the police.

The alleged victim's mother testified that when she confronted Brennan, he denied wrongdoing, and she asked him for money as a way to get him to confess.

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On direct examination, Ocampo elicited testimony from the alleged victim's mother that she had struggled with addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin but was currently not abusing any substances. She also has criminal convictions for theft and possession of heroin, according to her testimony.

On cross examination, Kim questioned the alleged victim's mother about her decision to not immediately involve the police but instead to confront him and demand money.

"I never demanded anything," she said. Later, she told Kim that she "doesn't remember much" from the night.

Kim also showed the witness her written statement for the police about the incident and asked why she didn't include the fact that she had asked Brennan for money. On re-direct examination, she told Ocampo she wrote the statement in a vehicle with her boyfriend and his family arguing around her, and had trouble focusing.

More witnesses for the state are expected to testify Tuesday in the second day of the trial, which is expected to last three days.

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