ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A 33-year-old Davidsonville man has been convicted of sexually abusing a 3 year old, the Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Joseph Earl Carter was convicted by a jury of sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree rape, and lesser charges, according to a statement released by the State’s Attorney’s Office. He will be sentenced on Sept. 10. Carter faces a potential sentence of 45 years in prison, with a mandatory minimum of 20 years since he is a repeat violent offender with a previous child sexual assault conviction.
An investigation into the lurid crimes began on Aug. 16, 2018, when Anne Arundel County Police responded to the Anne Arundel Medical Center for a report of child sexual abuse, the State’s Attorney’s Office said. At the hospital, police encountered a 3 year old who said she had been sexually abused by her Uncle Earl. The child also informed a trained forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center of the sexual abuse in a conversation that was videotaped.
Investigators later learned that Carter and his wife, the child’s aunt, were watching the girl. Carter volunteered to watch the girl while her aunt took a nap. Carter later said he was never alone with the child, but his wife contradicted that statement when she informed police of Carter’s offer to watch the girl while the aunt napped.
The child, now 4 years old, took the stand during the three-day trial. The interview she did with the forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center was allowed to be introduced as evidence under Maryland’s “Tender Years” statute, providing the jury a chance to hear the child recount the abuse in detail. An emergency room physician who treated the child also testified. The girl’s family members also testified about the emotional and behavioral changes the girl experienced after the abuse.
“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 in a statement. “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.”