Teen's rape charge stays in adult court

Judge denies bid to allow juvenile case

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008

A 16-year-old Great Mills boy faces a December trial on charges of second-degree rape and a second-degree sexual offense with a 12-year-old girl, after a judge denied his request Monday that the case be moved to juvenile court.

St. Mary's Circuit Judge Marvin Kaminetz heard two days of testimony about John K. Edison Jr. before ruling that the case should proceed ahead, out of concern for the public's safety.

"The court does consider this against tipping the scale in favor of the defendant," the active retired judge said, noting the administrative handling of two prior assault allegations against the boy, including one where an "authority figure" in the county's school system was the victim.

Edison's arrest last July on the rape charge expanded that pattern, the judge said.

"It's more aggressive behavior, antisocial, scary to the public," Kaminetz said. "I do consider him to be a danger to the public. That tips the scale in favor of the state."

Edison was jailed shortly after the incident on charging papers alleging he disrobed the girl at his family's home and had intercourse with her, despite her efforts to push him away.

The girl alleged that Edison engaged in additional sexual activity with her, and struck her with a belt.

Department of Juvenile Services employees testified that Edison is amenable to treatment through the juvenile system, through a structured residential program if he was found to have committed the alleged offenses.

Juvenile services supervisor Daniel Schaidt testified Monday that Edison "meets the criteria of a moderate risk" if given the treatment he needs.

Dr. Pieter Esterhay from the emergency room at St. Mary's Hospital in Leonardtown testified that a listing of the girl as a victim of a sexual assault was based solely on the patient's allegation that it occurred.

Kaminetz said he would not consider the hospital's listing of the sexual assault claim in his decision, and said that he concurred that Edison could be amenable to treatment.

But the judge said that the girl's allegations also "tips the scale" further against moving the case to juvenile court, as did evidence of the boy's continued use of marijuana after he was cleared of a drug charge.

"Even though he had treatment," the judge said, "I'm not sure how well it worked."

Kaminetz noted the case's toll on the parents of both the girl and boy.

"Feelings run very, very high as far as the loved ones," the judge said.