A 44-year-old physician's assistant at the District juvenile detention center was charged yesterday with the rape last week of a 17-year-old girl being held at the facility, D.C. police reported.

Thomas Maurice McLaughlin, 44, of 6105 Elmendorf Dr., Suitland, was charged with raping the girl Nov. 21 in the Receiving Home's medical office after examining her for an infestation of parasites, according to an affidavit filed in D.C. Superior Court.

McLaughlin's arrest marked the second time in the last five weeks that an employe at the juvenile facility at 1000 Mount Olivet Rd. NE, has been charged with raping a girl being held there.

McLaughlin appeared in D.C. Superior Court yesterday and was released on personal recognizance. He has been placed on administrative leave from his duties at the Receiving Home, officials said.

According to the police affidavit, the 17-year-old girl was awakened in her room by another Receiving Home employe and taken to the facility's medical office for medication.

As she was leaving the office, the affidavit states, McLaughlin asked to examine her, then sexually assaulted her as she tried to back away. According to the affidavit, McLaughlin told police the next day that he had examined the girl but denied assaulting her.

McLaughlin also has worked at D.C. General Hospital for 25 years, according to court papers filed by the city's bail agency. Charles Seigel, spokesman for the city's Human Services Department, which operates the Receiving Home, said McLaughlin was working at the facility under a city contract with the East of the River Health Association at 5929 East Capitol St.

James Speight, director of the association, said McLaughlin was hired for the part-time job at the detention facility by association staff members who "have known him for a number of years."