In late August, a Calvert County grand jury handed down indictments stemming from three separate incidents where adult males allegedly committed sexual acts with minor females.
In one of the cases, the victim was an adult female.
According to court documents, Daniel Edward Gaughan, 21, of Lusby, was served a 19-count indictment.
Gaughan is charged with one count each of sex abuse of a minor, fourth-degree sex offense sexual contact and sex abuse of a minor continuing course of conduct. The indictment also includes nine counts of second-degree rape and seven counts third-degree sex offense. With the exception of the fourth-degree sex offense, all of the charges are felonies.
The allegations against Gaughan came to light June 27 when detectives from the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office were notified about the alleged crimes by the victim’s mother. A statement of probable cause filed in district court by Detective Michael Mudd reported that when confronted by Deputy Robert Shrawder and Cpl. James Morgan, Gaughan “spontaneously uttered that he had sex with a child. This utterance was captured on body-worn video recording.”
Gaughan was then transported to the sheriff’s office.
According to Mudd, Gaughan waived his Miranda rights and provided a statement that was recorded on video. Mudd said the defendant “gave a detailed account of the sexual acts that occurred between him and the female minor. Mr. Gaughan said the sexual acts were consensual. He advised he told the minor female if she ever told he would go to jail and her parent would kill her.”
Gaughan admitted during the interview that he pleaded with the victim’s family not to turn him into police “and he would pay them $10,000 in cash to stay quiet.”
Mudd’s statement of probable cause identified four locations — all in the Lusby area — where Gaughan admitted the sexual encounters occurred.
“Mr. Gaughan advised he at no time used any force or violence during the described sexual encounters,” Mudd stated.
According to the detective, in addition to the sheriff’s and state’s attorney’s offices, the department of social services also investigated the alleged incidents, which reportedly took place between Jan. 1 and June 26.
Bond for Gaughan, a native of Russia who was employed as a landscaper, was set at $50,000 on Aug 30.
John William Connor, 54, of Dunkirk was indicted on five counts, including a felony charge of sex abuse of a minor, court documents stated. He was also indicted on two counts each of fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.
The incidents allegedly occurred between July 11 and July 17 and were reported to police July 21 by an out-of-state relative of the victim.
The female victims identified in court documents are between 14 and 19 years old.
In an application for statement of charges, Detective Edward Yates of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office reported he conducted recorded interviews with the victims at their residences.
The detective also did forensic downloads of apologetic text messages Connor sent to both females. Yates said two of the messages contained the words “ ‘I’m sorry’ displayed above a sad cartoon character.”
The detective stated in court documents, “the timing of the above messages sent by John Connor is consistent with the timeline reported by the victims in this case and supports their reports of abuse.
Connor, an active duty Army colonel who was reportedly working at Bolling Air Force Base in Virginia, was released Aug. 8 on $10,000 bond. He is being represented by Montgomery County-based attorney Andrew V. Jesic.
The grand jury also handed down a six-count indictment against George Stephen Howard Watts, 68, of Crownsville, whose juvenile female victim reported the allegations to the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office on July 30.
An incident July 23 at a residence in Prince Frederick, detailed in an application for statement of charges filed by Det. Sarah Jernigan, prompted the victim’s family to seek the issuance of a protective order and charges against Watts were filed Aug. 2.
That same day, a child protective services forensic investigator interviewed the victim, who told of previous encounters with the defendant.
In the indictment, Watts is charged with one count each of sex abuse of a minor and third-degree sex offense — both felonies — plus fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, visual surveillance in a private area with prurient intent and peeping tom.
Watts is being represented by Annapolis attorney Thomas A. Pavlinic.
The cases against Watts, Connor and Gaughan are all being prosecuted by Assistant State’s Attorney Rebecca Cordero.