ANNAPOLIS, MD - Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that Joseph Earl Carter, 33, of Davidsonville was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 60 years of active incarceration for the sexual abuse of a minor and second degree rape of a three-year-old child. Mr. Carter was already registered as a lifetime sex offender from a previous sexual offense committed against another child. The Honorable Glenn L. Klavans presided over the jury trial and sentencing of the defendant.
"Mr. Carter violated the most innocent member of our community and received the sentence he deserved for his heinous crime," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. "I hope this sentence provides some small relief to the family as they continue to heal from such a horrific event and know he won't have the opportunity to hurt another child. Judge Klavans imposed the maximum sentence and held Mr. Carter fully responsible under the law."
On August 16, 2018, Anne Arundel County Police were 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 Mr. Carter offered to watch the child while his wife, the child's aunt, took a nap. Mr. 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 trial under the so-called "Tender Years" statute. The jury had the opportunity to see and hear the child's videotaped recount of the abuse to a specially trained social worker. 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.
Assistant State's Attorney Kathy Aguiar of the Special Victim's Unit prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.