Citing pre-trial publicity, an FBI agent who lives in Carroll County has asked that his trial on charges that he sexually abused his daughters and one of their friends be moved to another county.
The agent has been "shunned by family, friends and strangers" and has received "hate" phone calls since news stories about his December indictment appeared, he said in papers filed Tuesday in Carroll Circuit Court.
A county grand jury charged the agent, who was assigned to the FBI's Baltimore field office, with 22 counts of child abuse, rape and sexual offenses.
The man allegedly abused the girls over a 14-year period, beginning when each girl was pre-school age and ending when they were in their mid-teens, the indictment said.
His name is being withheld to protect his daughters' privacy.
The publicity would prevent him from getting a fair trial in Carroll and would make it hard to choose an unbiased jury, the court papers said.
The documents specifically cited a story that appeared Dec. 20 in The Sun with the headline "FBI agent from Carroll charged in longtime abuse of daughters, their friend."
The agent's attorney, John E. Harris Sr. of Baltimore, said yesterday he does not have a preference about where the trial is moved.
The court clerk is waiting for a reply from the state before sending the request to a judge.
Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill, who heads Carroll's child abuse investigation unit, could not be reached for comment yesterday.
The investigation began when one of the man's daughters told a county child abuse investigator about at least five episodes of alleged sexual abuse between 1980 and 1987, District Court documents say.
The indictment said the man also fondled a friend of his oldest daughter during a sleep-over at his house.
The agent was arrested Dec. 3 and charged with abusing one daughter. The grand jury indicted him on charges of abusing the other girls Dec. 17.
He was arrested on those charges Dec. 30, released on $125,000 bond and ordered not to have contact with any female under age 21 and not to leave Maryland.
He has been on administrative leave, with pay, from the FBI since his first arrest.