A Carroll County man convicted of molesting nine children -- two of them his own -- was given a 145-year sentence yesterday, one of the longest ever assessed in Maryland for child sexual abuse.
The sentence imposed by Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. was almost three times the longest term -- 50 years imposed on a Taneytown farmer convicted of sexually abusing his daughters -- previously handed down in Carroll Circuit Court.
Division of Correction records confirmed that in 1988 a Frederick County man got a 120-year term for molesting several boys. A Baltimore prosecutor recalled that a city man died in prison while serving 250 years imposed after he pleaded guilty in the early '80s to abusing 13 children.
As Judge Beck sentenced the man -- whose name is being withheld to protect the privacy of his victims -- his mother cried softly in the courtroom gallery. He stared alternately at the judge, his attorney and the floor.
"What kind of society are we if we can't protect babies from the beasts among us?" the judge said.
Looking at the defendant, he said, "You are a pedophile; you are a pervert. You've abused your own flesh and blood. . . . You made adults out of [these children] at a very, very young age."
The judge gave a total of 461 years on 33 counts but ordered the terms imposed on 25 of the counts -- which total 316 years -- to be served concurrently.
The 29-year-old man came to the attention of Carroll child sexual abuse investigators in the summer of 1993, after a 9-year-old girl told her mother that the man had molested her. When investigators interviewed that girl, other names were mentioned, including those of the man's two children.
After four hours of deliberation in July, a Carroll jury convicted the man of molesting nine children over a period of five years. Many of the victims were the children of his friends and friends of his children.
All of the victims testified at the three-day trial, many of them tearfully describing what the man did to them. The victims are now 5 to 11 years old; some were as young as 3 when molested.
One victim's parents wiped away tears as the judge imposed his sentence. "I'm more than happy with what the judge gave him," she said later. "But this doesn't wipe the slate clean for these kids. You still have to worry about the next time someone does this."
As he did after his client was convicted, Baltimore attorney Stephen R. Tully said yesterday the sentence that he wasn't surprised by the sentence.
In an appeal filed yesterday, the man claims that Judge Beck erred in refusing to break the case into separate trials for each of the victims. He said the judge guaranteed a conviction when he allowed the jury to hear all of the allegations at once.
Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill, who heads the county's child abuse and sexual assault unit, said yesterday that she was pleased with the sentence. She called the man one of the county's worst pedophiles.