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Taneytown man indicted on child pornography charges after he allegedly filmed, distributed video of teen

Justin P. Carter
Justin P. Carter(Carroll County Sheriff's Office)

A Taneytown man faces child pornography charges after he allegedly filmed and distributed video of a 15-year-old girl engaged in sexual conduct in Westminster, charging documents show.

Justin P. Carter, 34, was criminally indicted in Carroll County Circuit Court on Thursday on charges of filming child pornography, possessing child pornography, distributing child pornography, and possessing child pornography with intent to distribute. The alleged crimes occurred on or about Dec. 15, according to the indictment.

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Carter was arrested Friday, online court records indicate. He was initially held without bond, then Judge Thomas F. Stansfield set bail at $20,000 in a bail review hearing Tuesday, noting previous charges against Carter. Carter, represented by Alexander Cruickshank of the Carroll County Public Defender’s Office, appeared in court via video conference.

Carter was released on conditions of pre-trial supervision and GPS monitoring, according to a bail review document.

If convicted, Carter faces up to 10 years incarceration and/or fines up to $25,000 for three of the charges, and up to five years incarceration and/or fines up to $2,500 for the charge of possessing child pornography, the indictment reads.

At the hearing, Courtney Colonese of the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office cited Carter’s criminal history and argued he should continue to be held without bail.

“This is a seasoned criminal,” said Colonese, senior assistant state’s attorney. She suggested Carter is a flight risk who presents a danger to the community.

Cruickshank noted that Carter’s previous two cases were dismissed. Carter said he never missed a court date.

Most recently, Carter was charged after allegedly shooting at an occupied vehicle in Westminster on Jan. 12. Online court records show the state has abandoned pursuing the charges in that case. Cara Frieman, spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office, would only say the alleged shooting is an ongoing investigation.

Prior to that, Carter faced three charges related to theft stemming from a July 2018 incident, online court records show. For a charge of theft of property valued less than $100, Carter pleaded not guilty under an agreed statement of facts and on Feb. 5 he received a disposition of probation before judgment. The state abandoned the other two charges. Probation before judgment means a defendant is given probation but is not found guilty.

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Beyond those cases, Carter was found guilty in Carroll County of resisting arrest and failing to obey a lawful order in 2006, and of possession with intent to distribute in 2018. He was also found not guilty with agreement to the statement of facts for several charges from as early as 2004, including second-degree assault multiple times. A plea of not guilty under an agreed statement of facts is functionally a guilty plea, according to case law.

Cruickshank was not immediately available Tuesday to answer a request for comment. Carter did not have a court date scheduled in online court records Tuesday afternoon.

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