Young Marines squad leader, 15, charged with sexually abusing younger boy

GLEN BURNIE, Md. - A member of a youth leadership organization is charged with sexually assaulting another member of the group.

Police in Anne Arundel County say the suspect in the case is just 15 years old.  They have not said how old the victim is -- only that he is younger than the suspect.

“Basically he touched a young person in an inappropriate way. This was on the level of unwanted fondling and touching,” said Lt. T.J. Smith of the Anne Arundel County Police Department.

Both the suspect and the victim were members of the Annapolis unit of the Young Marines -- a group that promotes service and a drug-free lifestyle for boys and girls ages eight through 18.

Police say the incidents, spread out over a period of two years, happened in at least two locations -- Downs Park, near Gibson Island, and also at the VFW hall in Glen Burnie, just south of BWI airport.

The suspect is charged as a juvenile with third and fourth degree sex offense, and 2nd degree child abuse, and he's been released to the custody of his parents.

Dallas Cooper is a retired marine who is the commander of the Annapolis unit.  In a phone interview he told ABC-2 News that the suspect has been a member for about three to four years.

He said he never saw any inappropriate activity, but he believes the allegations made by the younger member of his unit.

Cooper said quote:  “It was an inappropriate behavior that came out.  It shouldn't happen, ever.  We are going to continue stressing with our kids that if you see something, or if you are going through something, say something.”

Police say the organization has been helpful with the investigation.  “The young marines have helped us out in this case, to try to eradicate this behavior that was going on,” Lt. Smith said.

And they are trying to determine whether there are any more young victims.

“Unfortunately we do believe that there could be other victims out there that's why we're asking for the public's help. If you had a child, talk to your child about this if they were there,” Lt. Smith said.

Cooper said the teen who has been charged is no longer a member of the Young Marines program.

If you know anyone who might have been a victim or if you have any other information about this case you're asked to contact the Anne Arundel County Police Department.