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Christopher McDermott

Other Plea Cases with Perjury or False Accusation
In July 1998, 23-year-old Christopher McDermott was arrested in Hampstead, Maryland on charges of sexually molesting his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter.

After the girl told her mother she had been molested, police were called. The girl was then interviewed by investigators at the Carroll County Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit and said that between March and June 1998, McDermott had fondled her genitals.

McDermott was then arrested and charged with child abuse, third- and fourth-degree sexual offense and assault. The prosecution also sought to revoke his probation for two prior convictions arising from domestic violence charges involving the girl’s mother.

In one incident, McDermott held a knife to the woman’s throat and also stabbed and stomped her pet parrot to death. In another incident, he was convicted of shooting a gun near the woman and the girl.

On January 21, 1999, McDermott pled guilty in Carroll County Circuit Court to third-degree sexual offense. He was sentenced to three years in prison. His probation also was revoked and he received a four-year prison term to be served concurrently.

In November 1999, the girl told her stepmother and her father that the sexual abuse never happened. The couple then sent letters to the Maryland Parole Commission and to the Carroll County State’s Attorney’s Office saying that the girl had recanted her story. “She did so without duress,” the couple wrote. The letter said the girl was unable to repeat her story of the abuse with the same accuracy as she did prior to the charges being filed against McDermott.

“We have no special interest at all in seeing this defendant released…but we do not wish a man to serve time for something he did not do,” the couple said.

In February 2000, investigators from the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit re-interviewed the girl and concluded the girl was truthful when she said she lied about the sexual abuse because she wanted McDermott out of her mother’s house because he was mean.

In March 2000, the prosecution joined with McDermott’s defense lawyer in a motion to vacate the conviction. On April 5, 2000, the prosecution dismissed the charge.

– Maurice Possley

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Posting Date: 2/10/2016
State:Maryland
County:Carroll
Most Serious Crime:Child Sex Abuse
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1998
Convicted:1999
Exonerated:2000
Sentence:3 years
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age at the date of crime:23
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No