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Man withdraws guilty plea in sex abuse case


A Westminster man who pleaded guilty in March to sexually abusing his 4-year-old son withdrew the plea yesterday because he said he was not guilty of the crime.

Carroll Circuit Judge Francis M. Arnold was set to sentence the man yesterday, but court officials said the defendant told presentence investigators and others that he didn't abuse his son and that he wasn't guilty.

Yesterday, the man told the judge he wasn't guilty and asked if he could withdraw from the plea deal. The judge let him plead not guilty and ordered the scheduling of a jury trial.

Judge Arnold set bail for the defendant at $50,000, and the defendant posted it yesterday.

At a court hearing March 3, the man pleaded guilty to one count of child abuse in a deal that called for no jail time.

In exchange, prosecutors dropped four other sexual abuse charges and agreed to a suspended sentence and counseling for the man. Judge Arnold had agreed to accept the plea bargain.

Assistant Public Defender Judson K. Larrimore, the man's attorney, declined to comment on the case yesterday, as did prosecutor Kathi Hill.

According to court records, the man -- whose name is being withheld to protect his son's identity -- was arrested on Sept. 17 after the boy told his mother of alleged sexual abuse.

The boy's mother and father don't live together, court records say. The father allegedly performed sex acts on his son during visits.

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