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RAPE SUSPECT LEFT GROUP

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A 15-year-old boy charged with raping a jogger while on a field triphad left the group to look for two other group members, Howard County police said.

The youth was undergoing court-ordered therapy for two attempted sexual assaults in Prince George's County at the ThomasO'Farrell Youth Center in South Carroll when he went on the group trip to Centennial Park in Howard County April 26, police said.

"One of the counselors from the O'Farrell Center told police investigators that the defendant was sent to look for two others who had left the group right before the rape occurred," said Sgt. Robert Adams, a police spokesman.

Frieda Miller, assistant director of the Northeastern Family Institute, which runs the Marriottsville center, said the boy was sent to look for the two members, but was back before the rape occurred.

The head of the state Department of Juvenile Services is expected to decide what action should be taken after receiving a report on the incident Wednesday, said department spokeswoman Jacqueline Lampbell.

BABY-SELLING COUNT NIXED

ANNAPOLIS -- A Carroll County man who solicited $4,000 to persuade his girlfriend to give up custody of her son did not violate Maryland's law against baby selling, the Court of Special Appeals ruled Thursday.

In a 2-to-1 decision, the court said the law applies only to adoption of a child andnot to custody arrangements.

The majority opinion reversed the conviction of Allen F. Runkles in a case involving the 6-year-old son of his girlfriend and the boy's paternal grandfather, Warren Seymour, who was seeking custody of the boy. In August 1989, Runkles told Seymour that for $4,000 he would persuade JoAnn Bauerlien to give up custody of her son to the grandfather.

Seymour reported the offer to police, who staked out a meeting at Runkles' home in Taneytown, where the exchange was to take place. Police arrested Runkles after he gavesigned custody papers to Seymour and took the $4,000 in return.

Runkles was convicted the following May and given a five-year suspended sentence under a 1987 law making it illegal to sell, trade or barter a child in exchange for money or property.

The majority opinion said the legislature "chose to define the crime of baby selling in terms more descriptive of a commercial transaction involving goods, ware and merchandise than one dealing with human beings of any age."

"With respect to a child, the closest analogy to a sale is the acceptance of money (or something else of value) for giving up a child for adoption," the court said.

"Merely relinquishing custody of the child is in no way analogous to a sale," said the opinion by Judge Arrie Davis. "Adoption, like a change of ownership, is final and permanent; custody is neither final nor permanent, for it remains subject to judicial review and revision."

The agreement between Runkles and Seymour was not the commercial equivalent of a sale, Davis said, adding the agreement "was for possession of the child, not ownership."

In his dissent, Judge Charles E. Moylan said the law "clearly prohibits, in my judgment, any commercial trafficking in children."

"Had there been any intent to limit it to the adoption context, it would have been easy for the statute so to provide," Moylan said. "It contains no such limitation. In my opinion, the subject matter of the statute clearly would embrace the transfer of indefinite custody of the child in exchange for cash."

Assistant Attorney General Mary Ellen Barbera said she would have to review the ruling before deciding whether to ask the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest court, to take a look at the special appeals court decision.

MAN IN FAIR CONDITION

WESTMINSTER -- A Windsor Drive man was listed in fair condition last week after breaking all of the bones in his legs during a three-car accident at the intersection of routes 31 and 140.

Mark Hogan, 31, was scheduled to be operated on late Friday at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, a hospital spokesman said.

Hogan was flown to the hospitalby state police helicopter after the 6:50 p.m. accident Wednesday.

City police said the accident occurred when Hogan's 1990 Ford Ecoline van rear-ended another van that stopped to make a left turn onto Route 31.

The other van, a 1990 Chevrolet, was driven by William Miller, 25, of East Juniata, Pa., police said.

The impact of the crash pushed Miller's van into the path of a 1988 Chevrolet pickup truckdriven by Sebastian Broccolina, 58, of Westminster.

The right side of Hogan's van then hit the guardrail on the westbound shoulder of Route 140, police said.

A passenger in Hogan's car, Emil Fowler ofWestminster, was not injured in the crash.

Broccolina and a passenger in his car, George McIntyre of Westminster, were taken to Carroll County General Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Police said the accident tied up traffic on Route 140 for more than two hours.

FIRE DISPLACES FAMILY

HAMPSTEAD -- A one-alarm fire forced a Hanover Pike family from its home Wednesday and caused an estimated $20,000 in damage to the apartment.

No one was in the home in the 2000 block of Hanover Pike when the fire broke out about 10:30 a.m., according to fire officials.

The apartment -- one of three in the two-story wood-frame building -- was occupied by Jack and Leah Gifford and their two children.

Fire officials said the cause of the blaze was a floor fan that had fallen over on a pile of clothes in a rear bedroom. The fan's motor apparently ignited the clothing.

Thefire was brought under control in about 25 minutes by about 20 firefighters from Hampstead, Manchester, Westminster and Arcadia volunteerfire companies.

No injuries were reported, officials said.

CHECKPOINT NETS ARRESTS

WESTMINSTER -- A surprise sobriety checkpoint tonet holiday drunken drivers resulted in four alcohol-related arrests, state police reported.

The special Memorial Day checkpoint was set up May 24 beginning at 11 p.m. near Leidy Road and Baltimore Boulevard.

State troopers checked 600 vehicles at the location until 1 a.m.

This checkpoint was the first in Carroll since 1988.

SOLVE CRIME OF WEEK

Crime Solvers, a volunteer group that assists area police, is asking residents to help solve the Crime of the Week.

Thisweek, the group is targeting the breaking and entering of three carsparked in the Sykesville area between March 25 and 26.

Police said items removed from the cars include a Sony car cassette stereo, a Passport radar detector and a Radio Shack car stereo.

All three cars were locked when they were broken into, police said.

If you haveany information about this crime, or believe you may know who is involved, please call Crime Solvers at (800) 562-TIPS.

You do not need to leave your name, and if your information leads to an arrest, youcould earn up to a $1,000 reward.

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Please report crime tips to these hot lines: 857-TIPS (drugs) and (800) 562-TIPS (Crime Solvers). All calls are confidential and you do not have to give your name.

Here is a compilation of some of the crime reported to local and state police:

Westminster

Church Court: Theft of items from boats parked at residences May 28. Estimated loss: $1,160.

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Here is a compilation of the fire and rescue calls to the Emergency Operations Center:

May 29

3:43 a.m., Hampstead and Manchester responded to a fire alarm sounding on Hanover Pike.

4:28 a.m., Westminsterand Reese responded to a fire alarm sounding on Distillery Drive.

10:29 a.m., Hampstead, Westminster, Manchester and Arcadia respondedto a building fire on Hanover Pike.

May 30

9:01 a.m., Westminster responded to a car fire on East Green Street.

May 31

4:33 p.m., Mount Airy responded to a truck fire on Ridgeside Drive.

5:14p.m., New Windsor responded to a tractor fire on Pipe Creek Road.

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