Rapist of child gets 20 years Essex man has been convicted in 3 sex assaults on children.


John Steven Gunn, who has been convicted three times for sexual assaults on children, was sentenced today to 20 years in prison by a Baltimore County Circuit Court judge, who called Gunn a "menace and a threat to society and children."

Gunn, of Cutlass Court in Essex, was sentenced by Judge Christian Kahl for the Oct. 17, 1990, rape of a 3-year-old girl who Gunn lured into his parents' home with the promise of cookies.

"There's no question that John Gunn is ill," Kahl said. "But that fact makes him no less of a menace and a threat to society and children."

So Kahl imposed the 20-year sentence, the maximum for second-degree rape.

Gunn, a gray-haired man of 27, is deaf. He spoke through a sign language interpreter during his sentencing hearing.

"When I was young, when I was 15," Gunn said, "two men raped me. Once that happened to me, I changed, I started wanting to do things to children."

Gunn, who at the time of the assault on the 3-year-old was receiving drug therapy at the Sexual Disorders Clinic at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said the drug treatment had helped him. But ** then Gunn stopped short and said no more.

He never apologized for the attack on the little girl, who had been riding her bicycle around Cutlass Court the day of the rape.

Gerald W. Vahle, Gunn's attorney, suggested that warehousing Gunn would not help his client. And Vahle suggested also that Gunn was doing well under the therapy at Hopkins, but that his drug dosage was lowered, which may have caused the attack.

"I can't help but think there's a causal connection," Vahle said.

Robin Coffin, the prosecutor in the case, said she was pleased with the sentence. "It's a shame he couldn't get more" jail time, she added.

Kahl, while noting the previous convictions against Gunn -- one in Baltimore County and one in Washington -- recommended in his sentence that Gunn be sent to the Patuxent Institution, where he might get treatment.

Coffin said that if Gunn is sent there, it might mean he'd serve more, not less, of his sentence.

"Parole is much more stringent at Patuxent," she said.

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