Man admits vandalizing an unfinished school


An Ellicott City man confessed in court yesterday to driving a stolen bulldozer through an unfinished school last year and apologized, saying he was "highly intoxicated" at the time.

James A. McCormack, 20, of the 8200 block of Tall Trees Court was arrested and charged Thursday with causing more than $100,000 in damage at Bellows Spring Elementary School, in the 3100 block of Old Stockbridge Drive on Dec. 29.

"I would not normally do something like that," he said during a bond hearing yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court. "It was a stupid mistake."

McCormack also was charged with a separate set of sex counts, including perverted practice, child pornography and second-degree assault involving a 17-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy.

McCormack was being held last night in lieu of $150,000 bond at the Howard County Detention Center.

Police said McCormack had been suspected of the crimes since early September, when a 16-year-old boy accused him of sexual assault.

McCormack and his 17- year-old girlfriend invited the boy to their apartment in the 8800 block of Town and Country Blvd. on Sept. 1, police charging documents show. The three smoked marijuana, and the boy fell asleep on the couch, where he was assaulted, according to the documents.

Police later searched the couple's apartment and found a digital camera and a glass pipe with marijuana, the documents state. Police said they discovered sexually explicit digital photos of McCormack and his girlfriend in the camera.

McCormack admitted that he gave the 16-year-old marijuana and had sex with him, saying it was consensual, according to the documents. McCormack also said yesterday that he had been engaged to the 17-year-old girl.

McCormack told the court at yesterday's hearing that he delivered The Sun for a living. The Sun has no record of his employment, but some deliveries of the newspaper are handled by independent contractors.

McCormack does not have a lawyer, and his family declined to talk with the media.

Although the investigation of possible sex crimes concluded in early September, police did not press charges until last week, when he was linked to the vandalism. McCormack said yesterday that he had been drinking before he vandalized the school. Police say he stole a dirt-moving machine from a hotel construction site at Route 108 and Snowden River Parkway, drove it nearly two miles to the school site, crushed one brick wall and rammed a hole through a classroom.

He then stole a bulldozer from the construction site and used it to punch two holes in two other walls, police said.

Police did not link McCormack to the destruction at Bellows Spring until he bragged about it to friends, according to the documents.

The school was about 60 percent finished at the time, school officials said. Bellows Spring should open in late August.

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