Special prosecutor asked in officer's assault case


The county state's attorney's office has asked for a special prosecutor to handle the case of an Anne Arundel County police officer charged with sexually assaulting a 24-year-old woman six days after the two met through a newspaper personal ad.

Cynthia M. Ferris, an assistant state's attorney, said she asked for the special prosecutor to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest because Karl T. Strohminger, the officer, "has been in and out of the District Court a lot and it's a District Court case."

Mr. Strohminger, 30, of the 200 block of Plymouth Lane in Glen Burnie has been charged with battery and a fourth-degree sex offense. Both offenses are misdemeanors. The sex offense charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison. The maximum sentence for the battery charge is 20 years, said Ms. Ferris.

The officer was charged on June 14 in a summons for the alleged June 8 assault. The woman reported the incident that day, but prosecutors and police held off serving the summons while a team of state's attorneys reviewed the case.

Officer Randy Bell, a police spokesman, said the two-year veteran who worked in the Northern District was put on administrative duty pending an investigation by the internal affairs office and the trial in District Court.

Officer Strohminger and the woman met June 2. They went out once, had consensual sex, and the officer asked her if she "was into bondage and handcuffs," court documents allege.

The woman said no, but kept in touch with Officer Strohminger via telephone. On June 8, she called the officer, who asked her to come to his house. The woman agreed and took her 5-month-old baby with her, arriving about 11:30 a.m., according to charging documents.

Once in Officer Strohminger's house, the woman -- who had been to the house previously -- put her baby in a crib in a second bedroom. When she came out, Officer Strohminger grabbed her by the hair, handcuffed her and disrobed, according to the documents.

He pulled down her clothing and forced her to the floor. It was only when the woman screamed that he let her go, the charging documents said.

The woman took her baby and left, reporting the incident to police around 1 p.m. that day, charging documents said.

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