ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A Howard County jury convicted a former Maryland School for the Deaf employee on two charges of sexually abusing young students under his supervision.
Derek Valcourt was there as the jury announced the verdict and has reaction from both sides.
There were seven charges, one for each of the seven young women who came forward with the scandalous allegations. In the end, the jury only sided with two of them.
Police escorted Clarence Taylor, 38, out of a Howard County courtroom in handcuffs after a jury convicted him on charges of sexually abusing two of the seven teenage girls who testified Taylor intentionally groped or brushed up against their private areas when they were adolescent students at the Maryland School for the Deaf in Columbia and he was a dormitory counselor.
Taylor took the stand to deny wrongdoing, but in the end the jury could only agree on guilty verdicts in the cases of two of the young women. Of one accuser, they all agreed no abuse happened. As for the remaining four girls, the jury couldn’t agree at all and declared a mistrial.
“These types of charges are always serious. Any time you’re talking about somebody who’s in a position of power and trust–and you know we’re talking about a dormmate–they’re always serious. Any time a child becomes victimized in any way,” said Howard County prosecutor Lisa Broten.
After the verdict was read, Taylor pleaded with the judge to allow him to return home to his family until his sentencing date, saying he’d never been in trouble before. The judge revoked his bond, calling him a danger to society and sent him to jail right away.
Taylor’s defense attorney planned an appeal, faulting the judge for misinforming the jury during deliberations.
“They asked a question regarding whether or not they were allowed to consider certain aspects that were dismissed and the judge gave them an erroneous instruction that they were allowed to consider it and that wasn’t proper law,” said defense attorney Brandon Mead.
Taylor now faces the possibility of up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced on Jan. 31. Under sentencing guidelines, it is more likely his prison sentence would run in the 14-28 year range.
Taylor is married and has four children. His wife has stood by his side throughout the trial.
For now, prosecutors say they are considering pursuing another trial on the four charges the jury could not agree on. That trial date is tentatively set for May 12.
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