A former inmate of the Prince George's County jail, who prosecutors said was raped by a fellow inmate in February 1981, denied yesterday in sworn testimony that he had been sexually assaulted.
Holding his head in his hand, Patrick Miles, a former painter from Forestville, told Circuit Court Judge James M. Rea that he had been the victim of a fight with other inmates but not a sexual assault. But prosecutor John McKenna told the jury that Miles, now serving time in a Hagerstown prison on a burglary conviction, had changed the story he originally told police and prosecutors because he feared retribution.
Miles' testimony came during a pretrial hearing in the county's case against Clifton Tucker, 19, another former inmate at the jail, who prosecutors maintain held Miles down while a third inmate had anal sex with Miles. Tucker is charged with committing a second-degree sex offense and assault with intent to commit a sex offense.
As a result of Miles' testimony, prosecutor McKenna requested that Miles be called by the judge as a court witness, rather than a prosecution witness, when the Tucker trial resumes today. McKenna told the judge that prosecutors were no longer willing to vouch for the veracity of Miles' testimony.
In his opening statement to the jury, which was absent during Miles' pretrial testimony, McKenna told the jury Miles denied the rape but that his denial is "totally contrary to the physical evidence witnessed by the guards and the medics" who subsequently examined Miles.
McKenna said Miles, who is currently serving time at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown is fearful because "he knows what happens to a snitch in a jail environment."
Miles' alleged assailant, Tucker, was one of 12 current or former inmates of the county detention center who were indicted on sexual assault charges following a series in The Washington Post that detailed assaults or attempted assaults in the jail.
The incident involving Miles was not mentioned in that series, but Tucker and Wallace Parker Jr., 28, the man prosecutors allege actually raped Miles, were quoted in the series as admitting to separate incidents of sexual assault against other men.
Tucker is charged in a separate case with assault with intent to rape and is awaiting trial, his attorney said.
In the current case, prosecutors allege that Miles was raped by Parker, who like Tucker, was assigned to the same cell block as Miles.
McKenna told the jury that a jail guard will testify during the trial that he saw Parker laying on top of Miles, with a blanket covering the two men, and that "Parker was making movements which would indicate" intercourse.
McKenna said that Tucker grabbed Miles' leg, twisted it and "assisted in forcing Mr. Miles to submit to the rape."
Michael John Miller, Tucker's attorney, told the jury that the guard never saw Tucker holding Miles down and that Miles was the only prosecution witness who could vouch for Tucker's involvement. Miller said Miles has consistently declined to press charges against Tucker.
"Me and Miles get along good," Tucker blurted out at one point during the trial when the judge expressed concern that corrections officials intended to house both men last night at the county jail. The judge directed the county corrections department to keep both men in separate sections of the jail.