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A judge sentenced a Leonardtown man this week to serve 13 years in prison after convicting him of second-degree rape following a police investigation of incidents in 2010 and last year involving a girl who was 13 years old.

Michael Carl Thomas Jr., now 24, also received a pair of concurrent one-year prison sentences on the judge’s verdict that Thomas committed third-degree sexual offenses with two other girls. The rape sentence imposed by visiting retired Prince George’s Circuit Judge Vincent Femia was at the top of sentencing guidelines range, based on a worksheet compiled by the case’s prosecutor.

St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Julie White said at the trial’s onset on Monday that Thomas was a friend of the family of one of the girls, and that he was welcome to be with the girls “so nothing untoward would happen to them.” As it turned out, the prosecutor said, Thomas “was exactly the kind of person” that the parents were trying to protect the children from.

Thomas E. Pyles, Thomas’ lawyer, argued that his client would maintain a “flat-out denial that he ever had any kind of relations” with the girls. The lawyer said his client was in a relationship with the mother of one of the girls, and that the girl’s father set out to “recruit some other women” to make allegations against Thomas. “The evidence is going to show that they had an ax to grind,” Pyles said, adding that his client’s conduct was “like a big brother at all times.”

Femia acquitted Thomas of committing a third-degree sexual offense with a fourth girl.

Initial district court charging papers state that the sexual activity involving Thomas and the girls was consensual.

jwharton@somdnews.com