A Columbia man charged with sexually assaulting four young women while posing as a professional photographer had his bail increased by $10,000 yesterday by a Howard Circuit Court judge.
Prosecutors are expected to indict 28-year-old Richard Charles on additional charges, because three more women reported to police that they also were assaulted. The women came forward after reading an article about the case in The Sun last week, prosecutors said.
Mr. Charles, of the 8800 block of Flowerstock Row in Columbia's Long Reach village, is charged with multiple counts of assault, battery and sexual offenses for allegedly fondling the four women.
He was given a $2,500 unsecured bond when he was indicted in June, meaning that he would only have to pay the bond if he did not appear for his court dates.
When another victim came forward and Mr. Charles was arrested again in August, he was given a $20,000 cash bond. Unable to meet that bond, Mr. Charles has been held at the Howard County Detention Center.
Yesterday, Judge James Dudley revoked the $2,500 unsecured bond and replaced it with the $10,000 bond.
He added that prosecutors may seek another increase of Mr. Charles' bond if he is indicted again by the Howard County grand jury.
In requesting the higher bond, Assistant State's Attorney Mary Reese expressed concern that Mr. Charles would not appear for his court dates if he posts bail. She said that Mr. Charles, a native of Haiti who also used the name Jenky Georges, fraudulently obtained a green card to stay in the United States.
"The defendant may not be available for trial as more and more information comes forward," Ms. Reese said.
The four women in the first cases, ages 15 to 21, reported to police investigators that Mr. Charles identified himself as a fTC professional photographer and arranged to meet them at Centennial Park in Ellicott City or Hopewell Park in Columbia's Owen Brown village for photo sessions.
He told them the photographs he took would be sent to modeling agencies, police said.
During the photo sessions in the parks, he reportedly fondled the women while ostensibly adjusting their clothing, police said.