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Accusations against Hyde heard on tape

Prosecutors played in court yesterday a tape of a police-staged confrontation in which the mother of an elementary school girl accused former Carroll County schools Superintendent William H. Hyde of raping her daughter last summer.

"Look at me and tell me that!" the woman demanded after one of Hyde's many denials that he had abused the young girl or caused the genital injuries documented by her doctors. "You're just looking away! Because you did it!"

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The 50-minute conversation - recorded in August last year by police investigators who gave the woman a tiny recorder to wear under her shirt and coached her on how to confront Hyde - was among the evidence offered yesterday in the second day of testimony in Hyde's trial in Carroll County Circuit Court.

Hyde, 62, who left the Carroll school system in August 2000 to take a job with a small Montana school system, is charged with raping and sexually abusing the child at her family's home in July last year.

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He has waived his right to a jury trial, leaving the verdict to Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. If convicted of the rape charge, Hyde could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.

During nearly five hours on the witness stand yesterday, the girl's mother laid out a timeline of the investigation and its effect on her family, from her first inkling that something had happened to her daughter to a meeting in January at which she and her daughter met with Virginia investigators to discuss sexual abuse that the girl has said Hyde committed in Williamsburg in July last year.

Authorities in Virginia have said they were investigating a complaint of aggravated sexual battery involving a child at a Williamsburg hotel between July 3 and July 6 of last year, but they would not say whether the complaint involved Hyde.

As the recording of her confrontation with Hyde was played in court, the girl's mother shifted in her seat, resting her forehead in her hands several times and clenching her jaw as the discussion grew more heated.

Hyde squeezed his eyes shut several times, and the friends, relatives and other observers in the courtroom hung their heads and averted their eyes as the graphic and tense exchange blared from the portable stereo.

When Deputy State's Attorney Tracy A. Gilmore turned off the tape player, she zeroed in on a few moments from the tape, asking the mother why at one point she ordered Hyde to look at her.

"Because he hadn't much looked at me the whole time," the girl's mother testified. "He pretty much was looking at the table."

One of Hyde's attorneys focused on his client's denials.

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"At the end of the tape, I think I heard you say, 'I didn't get anything.' Is that right?" Edward M. Ulsch asked the girl's mother.

"Yes," the woman replied.

Ulsch emphasized Monday during his opening statement that Hyde had adamantly and repeatedly denied during the confrontation that he abused the girl, even though he did not know he was being recorded. Although he later wrote a letter to the girl in which he apologized for touching her genital area, that was "dragged out" of Hyde, Ulsch said, after several hours of police interrogation.

"He denies all of those accusations," Ulsch told the judge Monday, referring to the tape. "And this is the only recorded piece of information from Mr. Hyde."

Much of yesterday's testimony centered on the dates and details of Hyde's suspected contact with the girl and her interviews with investigators.

The girl's mother testified that she became aware of a problem with her daughter July 18 last year, when she found the girl "almost in tears" in the bathroom.

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"She said it hurt to go to the bathroom, that her bottom stung," the woman testified. When she told her daughter she would take her to the pediatrician, the girl "absolutely did not want to go. She was obstinate. ... She was almost fearful."

The pediatrician prescribed medicine for a yeast infection and told the girl's mother that "there was nothing to be worried about," but he said he would "make a report" to the county's child abuse and sexual assault unit.

Ruth Ann Arty, a civilian investigator with the unit, called the mother the next day and asked to interview the girl. Arty also scheduled an appointment for the woman to take her daughter to Carroll County General Hospital for a more thorough examination.

There, the woman testified, she learned that her daughter had symptoms of long-term and recent sexual abuse.

"I was shocked," the woman told the judge. "I cried for 10 minutes."

Three days later, while they were driving home from a two-hour interview with investigators, the girl tearfully told her mother that Hyde had abused her, the woman testified.

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Hyde, who returned to Carroll County last summer for about 2 1/2 weeks, has been charged with raping and sexually abusing the girl last July at her family's home.

The Sun is not disclosing many details from the case to protect the girl's identity.

Ulsch asked the girl's mother why she had not sought a doctor's examination after her daughter told her in November about injuries to her genital area.

Hyde, "of course, was probably about 3,000 miles away from you then," Ulsch said. "And because Mrs. Arty said [another doctor's exam] wasn't necessary, it wasn't done?"

The woman agreed.

She is scheduled to return to the witness stand today. Defense attorneys told the judge that they plan to show a videotape of her conversation with Virginia investigators.


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