DIRTBAG ROUNDUP: Anne Arundel Jury Convicts Joseph Earl Carter of Child Sex Abuse of Three-Year-Old Child
ANNAPOLIS, MD – An Anne Arundel County jury convicted Joseph Earl Carter, 33, of 850 Hillside Avenue, Edgewater, Md., of sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree rape and lesser included charges and will be sentenced on September 10, 2019, by Circuit Court Judge Glenn L. Klavans.
Carter was convicted of a second-degree sex offense in Worcester County, Md., on July 9, 2010. In a plea deal with Worcester County States Attorney Beau Oglesby, Carter entered a guilty plea that let him serve 220 days in jail. As part of the plea deal that Oglesby agreed to, three counts of unnatural and perverted practice, sodomy, three counts of felony sodomy, four counts of second-degree assault, three counts of second-degree sex offense were all dropped. There were numerous violations of the terms of the probation in the give-away plea deal that allowed Carter to be available to re-offend instead of being in prison. Oglesby was appointed a Judge of the Circuit Court for Worcester by Gov. Larry Hogan and sworn into office in 2018.
“It’s truly unconscionable for any person to violate a child moreover for that person to be a family member the child trusted,” said Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “We will seek the maximum penalty for Mr. Carter’s crimes in the hope that we can protect the community as a whole as well as the victim and her family. This case reminds us that as parents we can and should talk with our children from a very young age and reinforce their knowledge that no one is allowed to touch them and that they should come forward and tell a trusted adult if that happens.”
On August 16, 2018, Anne Arundel County Police was called to Anne Arundel Medical Center for a report of child sexual abuse. At the hospital, the three-year-old victim reported that her Uncle Earl had committed sexually abusive acts against her. The child also relayed the incident to a specially trained forensic interviewer at the Child Advocacy Center during a videotaped statement.
Police learned that Carter offered to watch the child while his wife, the child’s aunt, took a nap. Carter told police he was never alone with the child, a fact contradicted by his wife, who told police that he offered to care for the child while she slept.
During the three-day trial, the victim, now four years old, took the witness stand and was qualified to testify in court. Under Maryland Law, the child’s forensic interview could be introduced as substantive evidence at the trial under the so-called “Tender Years” statute. The jury had the opportunity to see and hear the child recount to a specially trained social worker the details of her abuse. Additionally, the jury heard testimony from the emergency room physician who treated the child, the lead detective who investigated the case and family members who described the behavioral and emotional changes in the child after the sexual abuse.
The jury convicted the defendant of all five counts in the indictment. At sentencing, the defendant will face a potential maximum penalty of 45 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years due to his status as a repeat, violent offender for a previous child sexual assault conviction.
Assistant State’s Attorney Kathy Aguiar of the Special Victim’s Unit prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County and Elizabeth L. Franzoso represented Carter.