An Abingdon man who worked for a company that towed vehicles for the Harford sheriff’s office was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a lifetime on the sex offender registry for sexually abusing a minor for nine years.
Steven Michael Gross, 49, was sentenced to 25 years, with all but 10 years suspended, on May 20. He had pleading guilty to charges of sexual abuse of a minor on Nov. 11, 2020, according to electronic court records.
According to charging documents filed in Harford County District Court, a 23-year-old woman told Maryland State Police in June 2020 that Gross had sexually abused her from ages 6 to 15 at his Abingdon home. According to a statement from the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office, Gross threatened her in order to keep her from outing him.
“He threatened her on regular basis should she should ever disclose what he was doing,” according to the statement. “It wasn’t until the victim reached adulthood that she felt safe and disclosed.”
The Aegis does not identify victims of sexual abuse.
The woman agreed to a phone call recorded by police where she confronted Gross. When asked about the things he had done, “he stated [that] he didn’t think about it because it wouldn’t help anything,” according to the documents. After the call, police contacted Harford’s state’s attorney’s office and applied for charges.
Gross worked for a company that towed cars to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office’s criminal investigation division for further examination, Cristie Hopkins, a spokesperson for the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, said. Upon his arrest, he was no longer eligible to tow vehicles for the sheriff’s office, she said.
She deferred questions about the amount of time he towed trucks for investigators to his employer, which the office did not identify.
At no time was Gross directly employed, hired or contracted by the sheriff’s office, Hopkins said. He did not handle any evidence beyond towing vehicles to criminal investigations division, she said.
“Mr. Gross worked for a local company that employs multiple operators and routinely tows cars for evidentiary purposes,” she said. “That company is one of several on an approved towing company list maintained by Harford County.”
It is unclear if Gross towed cars for other law enforcement agencies.
Through Hopkins, Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler said he “is proud of the work the men and woman assigned to the Child Advocacy Center do each day to help child victims of physical and sexual violence and bring predators to justice.”
Deputy State’s Attorney Gavin Patashnick said Gross had no criminal record prior to this case. When Gross is released, he will be subject to five years of probation and lifetime supervision, Patashnick said.
Because of his conviction, Gross is prohibited from possessing firearms, Patashnick said.
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Gross’ attorney did not respond to a request for comment as of 5 p.m. Thursday.