- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2007

BALTIMORE (AP) — A federal judge sentenced a Berlin, Md., man with AIDS to 30 years in prison for child sexual abuse, agreeing with prosecutors that he had inflicted heinous and degrading abuse on an 11-year-old whose family was living with him.

U.S. District Judge Catherine Blake also ordered Roderick Parks, 42, to register as a sex offender and undergo treatment. Parks pleaded guilty in June to sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography.

“The child’s pictures and words that were submitted to me spoke more powerfully than I could,” Judge Blake said before sentencing Parks yesterday.

While Parks squirmed, sobbed loudly and chewed on his fingernails, Worcester County Sheriff’s Detective Mike Lupiwok described how the boy told police that Parks “was doing bad stuff to him.”

Detective Lupiwok and a Worcester County social services worker uncovered graphic sexual abuse from August to November 2006 while interviewing the boy in December. Parks abused the boy 15 times while he let the family share his one-bedroom apartment in Berlin, the boy told police.

Parks’ defense attorney, Paul Hazlehurst, said the family became destitute and moved in with Parks.

Prosecutors sought a stiff sentence because they thought Parks’ AIDS infection and posting of videos depicting the sexual acts to an Australian Web site met the law’s definition of heinous and degrading actions.

Three HIV tests for the boy were negative, but authorities said he must have yearly tests.

But Mr. Hazlehurst asked the judge to shorten Parks’ sentence because he is a “pariah” in the prison system and risks not receiving treatment for AIDS and threats from inmates.

Judge Blake responded it was tragic for all but said “there is no question that exposing a minor child to the risk of HIV” supports her sentence. She said Parks “abused the trust of a child for his own benefit.”

An Australian reported images of the boy and Parks engaged in sexual acts found on a Web site to authorities in November. Prosecutors said Parks was watching the boy while his mother worked.

The Australian Federal Police sex crimes unit traced the webcam’s files to Parks’ home with help from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

Frank Portanova, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing the boy before Parks did, will be sentenced tomorrow in Worcester County Circuit Court. Detective Lupiwok said Portanova was arrested in Worcester County after creating a murder-for-hire scheme to kill the boy and his mother after they divorced and she remarried.

Police learned that Portanova abused the boy during the same interviews revealing Parks’ abuse, Detective Lupiwok testified.

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