An illiterate Westminster man pleaded guilty yesterday to sexually molesting four neighborhood children over a five-year period.
Walter John Boraten, 50, entered guilty pleas to two counts of child abuse and two counts of attempted second-degree sexual offense in exchange for a sentence of no more than 16 years. Prosecutors also dropped a half-dozen other charges.
Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. will sentence Boraten on July 28. The judge allowed Boraten to remain free on bond until then, but ordered him to stay away from everyone younger than 18.
Last summer, Boraten told Carroll County Child Abuse and Sexual Assault unit investigators in interviews that he had abused four neighborhood children.
Boraten apologized for the abuse in a short letter written for him by sexual abuse investigator Ruth Ann Arty.
"Dear Kids and Parents," the letter began. "I'm sorry what we did together. I don't know why I did it, I don't know what else to say. I didn't know the sexual things would go this far."
During interviews with Ms. Arty, Boraten talked about how he struggled with his sexual urges toward children.
In one interview, Ms. Arty asked him what he thought should happen to people who abuse children.
"Well, I don't know if jail would do anything or not, but I don't see where jail would do too much," Boraten said, according to a transcript of the conversation.
Ms. Arty replied, "It would keep you away from children."
"Oh, yeah. I can understand that," Boraten said. "Keep me away from the kids."
In the same interview, he said he couldn't control his urges, especially when the youngsters would initiate the contact.
Boraten and his brother, Joseph Emory Boraten, 48, both of the 1700 block of Strand Ave. were charged in August with multiple counts of child abuse, attempted second-degree sexual offense, attempted perverted practices and third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses.
Joseph Boraten is awaiting trial.
Charging documents accused the brothers of showing the children -- ages 5 to 15 -- sexually explicit films, magazines and books, and forcing them to fondle themselves and perform sex acts.
Many incidents allegedly occurred in the brothers' home.
A grand jury returned indictments against the Boratens in August, after a raid and Walter Boraten's statements to authorities.
Prosecutors said both brothers gave statements to investigators before they were indicted. Each told investigators he didn't know about the alleged activities for which the other had been charged.
Two of the six children alleged they were abused by both men, prosecutors said yesterday.
The investigation began last June after one of the children talked to a counselor, Ms. Arty testified earlier.
She said several other children had told their parents they were abused.
Although Walter Boraten could face more than 40 years in prison, prosecutors agreed to ask for no more than the nine to 16 years called for in Maryland's nonbinding sentencing guidelines.