Man sentenced to 10-year term in fondling cases


A Baltimore man nicknamed "The Phantom Fondler" wa sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for breaking into several local houses and touching women as they lay in bed.

Walter Porter, 31, pleaded guilty in Baltimore Circuit Court to several counts of breaking and entering and assault for forcing his way into three homes in the Mayfield area of Northeast Baltimore two years ago.

Porter went to the bedroom of each residence and touched a woman on the arm or leg while she slept. When the women woke, Porter would flee or be chased away.

"He has terrorized this particular neighborhood," said Assistant State's Attorney Michael Flannery.

In a statement to police, Porter admitted to breaking into many other homes in Baltimore and touching women, as well as 20 homes in Harford County between 1986 and 1990.

Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman said he was accepting the plea agreement, even though the sentence exceeded the state's nonbinding guidelines, which suggest probation to two years. Judge Hammerman said he took the action because Porter had admitted to many more incidents and because of the trauma the break-ins caused victims.

"Serious damage has been done here, of a lasting, permanent nature," the judge said.

Defense attorney Michael Gambrill said his client was "remorseful," but he said that Porter never physically harmed his victims.

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