A Westminster man pleaded guilty yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court to sexually abusing his 4-year-old son last year.
The defendant's name is being withheld by The Sun to protect the privacy of the child.
In a plea-bargain agreement, prosecutors agreed to recommend a suspended sentence with probation, instead of a jail term, in return for the guilty plea to one abuse charge.
The defendant is to undergo a pre-sentence psychiatric evaluation and accept any recommended treatment or counseling.
In the agreement, the state also dropped four other charges: second-degree sexual offense, fourth-degree sexual offense, perverted practice and battery.
The court, under Judge Francis M. Arnold, agreed to bind itself to the plea-bargain agreement.
In Maryland, the maximum penalty for the felony of child abuse is 15 years in prison.
Sentencing will take place May 26.
The prosecutor, Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill, and the defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Judson K. Larrimore, declined to comment.
The prosecutor's written statement in support of the guilty plea said that when the child returned from visits to his father, "He would act out aggressively. He would make sexualized comments such as, 'There's a sexy woman, I'm going to take off her clothes like Daddy does.' "
The statement said results of a medical examination of the child were inconclusive.
According to court records, the boy's mother reported last August that after the child returned from a weekend visit to his father, he had made unusual comments of a sexual nature.
The defendant was arrested Sept. 17.
He was released on his own recognizance on Sept. 18 after relatives posted a $25,000 property bond.