Eight Maryland men, including one from Silver Spring, have been indicted in Baltimore City Court on charges of committing sexual acts on 20 to 30 boys 13 years old and younger, during the past two years.
Two of the eight men also were charged with violating state child pornography laws by taking photographs of some of the youths.
The indictments, returned by a city grand jury Nov. 23, were made public today by the Baltimore State's Attorney's office, after six of the eight men, including Charles Baumgardner, 40, of Silver Spring, were arrested. The six have since been released on bonds ranging up to $75,000 each. The two other men are still at large.
Police and prosecutors say they are still investigating the matter and more indictments are expected.
City assistant prosecutor Andrea Smith said there was "no network or conspiracy" among the eight suspects, although police said some of the men knew each other.
The indictments charge some of the men with committing sexual acts on some of the same children. The number of youths involved with each man ranged from one to 12, according to the indictments.
Smith said the boys, some of whom were as young as 9, lived in Baltimore and were picked up randomly on the street by the men during a two-year period. She said the men paid the youths small amounts of money -- "and maybe some sodas" -- in exchange for sexual favors, mostly oral sodomy.
She declined to say how much the men paid the boys. "These were children," she said. "What do you pay a child?"
The indicted men range in age from 32 to 58.
Smith said a total of 20 to 30 children were involved, though "I haven't counted the exact number." Police say they are investigating additional cases involving perhaps another 20 children, some of them as old as 17.
All the children listed in yesterday's indictments are 13 or younger, Smith said, making the offenses against the eight men felonies. Charges involving older juveniles are misdemeanors.
Smith said the five-week-long investigation grew out of a variety of reports of possible sexual abuse of children from school officials and other authorities in Baltimore.
The six men arrested and charged with second-degree sexual offenses are Baumgardner, Henry Alvarez, 47, Gary Francis Suggars, 35, Gary Leonard Wetzel, 32, Frank Joseph Guerassio Jr., and Larry Dunn, 58, all of Baltimore City. Authorities would not confirm the names of the two men still at large.