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Testimony continues in trial of man accused of child sex abuse; jury to begin deliberations Wednesday

Attorneys will present their closing arguments and the jury will begin deliberations Wednesday in the case of a man accused of sexually abusing a minor and related charges.

During the second day of trial Tuesday, the jury heard from the defendant, Martin Brennan, 57, of Westminster, who testified the alleged incident never occurred.

The alleged victim, who was 11 at the time of the alleged abuse, testified Monday that he was spending the night on the couch of Brennan, with whom his family was acquainted, in December 2012. He said that he fell asleep and when he woke up Brennan 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 his mother's boyfriend's son and the son's girlfriend and told them what had happened.

Brennan said that on the night in question, the alleged victim's mother asked Brennan to watch the alleged victim for a short period until her boyfriend's son and daughter came back to their apartment across the hall.

When the alleged victim fell asleep, Brennan said that he gave him a blanket and went to his bedroom. Several hours later, he said the alleged victim woke him and asked to call his mother in the middle of the night. When Brennan refused, the alleged victim then said he was supposed to go across the hall to the other apartment and left.

The girlfriend testified that she and her boyfriend had returned home and the alleged victim knocked on their door and informed them that he was spending the night across the hall in Brennan's apartment.

The witness testified that she and her boyfriend got their infant daughter to sleep and then were falling asleep themselves when sometime around 2 a.m. her boyfriend heard a tapping on their door and allegedly overheard a conversation between Brennan and the alleged victim and opened the door to the alleged victim crying.

The witness's boyfriend, the son of the alleged victim's mother's boyfriend, testified that when he heard a noise in the hall, he went to the door and heard the alleged victim say, "You know what you did," followed by Brennan allegedly saying, "I didn't hurt you, though, did I?"

In his testimony, Brennan denied that he was in the hall speaking with the alleged victim and also said that he did not observe him to be upset when he left the apartment.

The girlfriend said that the alleged victim begged to be taken to his mother's home and she and her boyfriend agreed.

She said that while at the home she learned that her boyfriend's father and his girlfriend, the mother of the alleged victim, did not want to call the police and instead planned to return to the apartment and ask Brennan for money in exchange for their silence.

Defense attorney Tae H. Kim asked the witness why she did not call the police or stop at any police stations on the drive from their apartment and she said that the alleged victim was not her child and that she thought it was best to take him to his mother first.

"I told them to get the law involved and not to go about it in another manner," she said.

The alleged victim's mother testified Monday that she asked for money from Brennan when she confronted him but said it was only to get him to admit wrongdoing.

Both witnesses testified that when the group returned to the apartment, they confronted Brennan with their accusations and the alleged victim's mother demanded money and to keep the defendant's van, which she had been borrowing.

The boyfriend also testified that when his family was leaving after confronting Brennan, he punched Brennan in the face but did not tell the police, and let his father take the blame.

Brennan testified that he was never assaulted, and if he had been he would have pressed charges.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo elicited testimony from both of the state's witnesses about their history of drug use and their criminal records. The girlfriend has used prescription narcotics and heroin and is on probation for theft. Her boyfriend has used heroin and cocaine and was convicted for selling drugs in Carroll County as well as second-degree escape. He also said that he had been charged with burglary and theft in North Carolina.

According to Brennan, he knew the family of the alleged victim's mother's boyfriend through his job, as they had testified, but he did not know them well. He said he knew that they had a history of drug use and criminal records. He said that he gave the father a couple of side jobs when he needed extra money.

Brennan also testified that he rented the apartment in his complex to the son of the alleged victim's mother's boyfriend and his girlfriend but that they only paid rent for three weeks and sent demanding letters after the alleged incident demanding that he make repairs while they were not paying rent.

Ocampo confirmed with Brennan that he was renting an apartment to members of a family whom he knew had issues with addiction and criminal behavior, allowing one to borrow his vehicle, allowing another to perform work for him and allowing a child he did not know to sleep on his couch.

"And it's your testimony that you don't know these people?" she said.

Brennan said that he knew that some of the individuals were current or recovering drug addicts and that they had criminal records but he did not realize the extent.

Brennan also testified that he did not hear the police knock on his door after the 911 call at approximately 4:30 a.m. The incident allegedly occurred at sometime around 2 a.m.

Trooper Joseph Dehoff, of the Maryland State Police Westminster barrack, testified earlier that he responded to the scene and attempted to make contact with the defendant with "a nice, firm knock" on the door of his apartment.

Other witnesses testified that the police had attempted to talk to Brennan for a significant amount of time, but he never answered the door.

Dehoff told Kim that there was no physical evidence collected at the scene, including DNA evidence from the alleged victim, because the case was going to be taken over by the Carroll County Advocacy and Investigation Center and that the agency planned to make contact with the victim later in the day.

No physical evidence was recovered, according to Dehoff.

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