Ex-Chorister Sentenced for Photographs of Boys

Baltimore Sun
August 1, 2007,0,3703710.story?page=2

Maryland — A former organist and choir director of a Timonium church was ordered yesterday to serve three years of probation for possessing photographs that depicted young boys as the subjects of sadomasochistic abuse.

David R. Riley, 59, of Roland Park was granted probation before judgment on one count of possession of child pornography. He resigned his position as organist and choirmaster of the Choir of Men and Boys at St. Stephen's Traditional Episcopal Church after a plea hearing in April. By entering an Alford plea, Riley did not admit guilt in the case but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Police searched Riley's home in September after painters working in his house spotted several 8-inch-by-10-inch photographs of partially clad boys. According to charging documents, several images depicted boys with their arms bound over their heads and their chests "subject to torture with clothespins."

Riley told police that he collected the images - most of which contained shirtless boys - "because he enjoyed looking at young boys," according to court documents. He also told detectives that he had photographed boys "in various states of dress and partial undress while at a 'choir camp' that he coordinates" with St. Stephen's.

In court, District Judge Bruce S. Lamdin said he was disturbed by Riley's explanations.

"You couch the photos as nothing more than tie-up games that people play as children," the judge said. Noting that he never played the kinds of games depicted in the photos, Lamdin added, "I don't know anyone who would - unless they hang out with Jeffrey Dahmer."

The judge said he decided not to punish Riley with the maximum sentence - a year in jail and a $2,500 fine - only after reading the report of a psychiatrist who evaluated him at the court's request. A psychiatrist determined that Riley did not meet the "diagnostic criteria" of a pedophile and was not at risk of engaging in sexual activity with boys.

The judge also said he wanted to maintain jurisdiction over Riley during his probation and not risk the case being appealed to county Circuit Court, where a judge might be more lenient, Lamdin said.

"I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he's just looking at pictures and keeps his hands to himself," the judge said.

Prosecutor Jill Savage said that of the estimated 8,000 photographs of young men in Riley's house, seven depicted the bondage and abuse that led to the criminal charge.

Riley, who had no prior criminal record, taught at the Peabody Institute as well as Garrison Forest and Boys' Latin private schools, according to defense attorney G. Warren Mix.

"It was just a crazy hobby that he didn't even know was wrong," the defense attorney said.

[Jennifer McMenamin


Girl, 2, hit after walking into road

A 2-year-old girl was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital after being struck by a car yesterday in the Anneslie area of Baltimore County, police said.

A man was walking with his two young children on a sidewalk on the northbound side of York Road at Overbrook Road about 9:30 a.m. when one of the children darted into traffic, said Cpl. Michael Hill, a county police spokesman. The man chased after the child, and the other child followed him into the road and was struck, he said.

The girl was taken by ambulance to the pediatric unit at Johns Hopkins for treatment of head and leg injuries, Hill said. The girl's condition was not known, and police did not identify her.


Man with Alzheimer's is missing

Baltimore County police yesterday asked for the public's help in finding a missing man who suffers from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Cornelius Edward Palmer, 88, of the 3100 block of Thornfield Road in the Woodlawn area, was last seen about 3:30 p.m. yesterday in the 5600 block of Force Road in Baltimore, police said. He was driving a blue 2002 Dodge Neon with Maryland plates 9BX D37, police said.

Palmer is black, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray or black shirt and khaki pants.

Anyone with information was asked to call 911 or contact county police at 410-307-2020 or 410-877-1340.


Wise Avenue bridge to close

The Wise Avenue bridge over Bear Creek in Dundalk will be closed for two weeks for repairs, starting Monday, officials said.

During the closure, contractors are to replace deteriorated concrete under the drawbridge's track system, install new anchor bolts and balance the movable portion of the structure. The work is the final stage in a series of structural and mechanical repairs begun last year, officials said.

Traffic will be detoured. The bridge is to reopen Aug. 20.

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