A North Carolina man admitted Wednesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court that he had sexually abused a young relative more than four decades ago.

Albert Riek, 72, abused the 5-year-old girl in the 1970s at his home at the time on Deer Park Drive in Gaithersburg, according to court records.

Montgomery Assistant State’s Attorney Dana Kaplan said in court that the victim, now 45, thought at the time that Riek “was trying to have a baby with her.”

The woman told her family about the abuse in 1991, when she tried to commit suicide, court papers say. The victim’s mother came to police in February.

David Felsen, Riek’s attorney, said his client had accepted responsibility for his crime years ago and has no other history of abuse.

“He’s always been remorseful for his conduct,” Felsen said.

Riek admitted the behavior to his family as early as 1988, Felsen said, and went through sex-offender therapy in 1991.

The victim’s family did not report the abuse sooner because it thought that too much time had passed, according to court papers. But the woman told police that she had recently read a book about child abuse and learned that a prosecution might be possible.

As part of his plea deal, Riek, who lives in Pinehurst, N.C., is likely to serve no more than five years in prison.

The maximum penalty for the charge against him is 15 years in prison, based on the law at the time the abuse took place. Today, the charge would carry a penalty of 25 years.

He is scheduled to be sentenced in September.

— The Gazette