A 71-year-old Jessup, Md., man has been arrested after more than 1,000 pornographic pictures of children were found at his home, according to police. George F. Becker, a retired woodworker, was charged with sexual perversion, child pornography and child abuse.
Maryland state police at the Waterloo barracks said yesterday that their investigation of the case began last week when they received a tip that minors were involved in illicit sex acts at Becker's home at 8248 Glen Court. Police spokesman Bill Tower said Becker allowed police into his house Sunday and they found the photographs and containers of a floor solvent that police believe was being used as an inhalant to drug the youths.
Becker was arrested Tuesday and jailed on a $250,000 bond, which he posted yesterday.
Police said most of the youths involved are 14 or 15 years old. They also said that once the youths were drugged, the suspect would have sex with them or would take pictures of them in sexual poses while they were unconscious.
A 17-year-old girl was at Becker's house Sunday when police arrived to search it, Tower said. She appeared to be under the influence of drugs, was arrested and charged as a juvenile with possession of a harmful inhalant, he said. The girl was released to her mother, but when police returned to Becker's home a few hours later to continue their investigation, they found the same girl there, Tower said. She was arrested a second time and again placed in her mother's custody.
Police spent two days trying to identify and interview the youths in the photographs. On Tuesday afternoon, they went back to the house to arrest Becker. He is charged with four felonies and six misdemeanors, including child abuse, child pornography, maintaining a common nuisance and performing unnatural and perverted sex acts.
Tower said yesterday that the crimes involved about 17 minors, and that all but one are believed to be girls. Most of the youths are from Highlandtown, a working-class neighborhood in southeastern Baltimore that is about a 45-minute drive from Jessup, police said.
"Mr. Becker befriended parents of the victims and convinced them to allow the children to spend weekends with him," Tower said. Once the youths arrived, police allege, Becker bought clothes for them and got them drugged by inhaling the solvent so they would consent to sexual activities.
"Around the country we're hearing about a lot of these kinds of situations," Tower said.
Yesterday state police were continuing their interviews with victims. They said the arrest of another adult is being considered.