Elderly Sex Offender Acquitted

A registered sex offender accused of molesting a 9-year-old girl in February while she slept has been acquitted of all charges. Talbot County Circuit Court Judge Broughton M. Earnest acquitted Hermione Rasin Sr., 76, during a non-jury trial. Rasin, of 710 Howard Street, Easton, was arrested February 16 and charged with third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sex offense and second-degree assault.

Earnest said he could not find proof beyond reasonable doubt Rasin committed any crime or sexual contact, citing a negative DNA test and the state’s eyewitness being unsure where Rasin may have touched the girl. After the alleged incident, the girl was taken to Memorial Hospital at Easton and medical personnel determined the girl had a cut and redness around her groin, which medical personnel said was consistent with sexual abuse.

The case was prosecuted by Talbot County Deputy State’s Attorney Ellen Grunden. Grunden called a young woman to the stand who said she witnessed the alleged incident. The woman said she was awakened about 4 a.m. in the living room of the home and saw Rasin walking around the house with a flashlight. She said he turned off the flashlight and stood next to the girl’s feet while the girl slept on the couch. She said Rasin put his right hand under the blanket and began “messing with” the lower part of the girl’s body as the girl slept. The woman said she was no more than three feet away from the girl, and after Rasin stopped a short time later, she went and told the girl’s mother. Grunden said the girl does not remember the alleged incident because she was asleep.

State witness Karen Jackson, SAFE Nurse and forensic sexual assault specialist at the Memorial Hospital at Easton examined the girl at the hospital at about 6 a.m. She testified she found a cut and redness around the girl’s groin. She said the injuries were abnormal, fresh and consistent with sexual abuse.

Paula Turner, Talbot County Department of Social Services Child Protective Services supervisor, and Pfc. Milton Orellana, of the Easton police Criminal Investigation Division, testified they met with the girl at the hospital. Orellana said he took DNA samples from Rasin’s hands and the girl on February 16. He said the DNA samples were sent to the Bode Crime Laboratory in Lorton, Va. He said the DNA samples came back negative, with no DNA from the girl on Rasin’s hands.

After the state’s case was presented, Talbot County Assistant Public Defender Glenn Klakring made a motion for acquittal based on the negative DNA result and the uncertainty of where Redd allegedly saw Rasin touching the girl. Earnest denied Klakring’s motion for acquittal and called a five-minute recess. After the recess, Klakring told Earnest his client would not testify in the case. He called no other defense witnesses. Earnest skipped closing arguments and delivered his disposition because he said he knew both arguments for each side.