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Linthicum Man Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Using a Phone to Coerce a Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity
Exchanged More Than 200 Text Messages in Three Days with a Detective He Thought was a 9-Year-Old Girl

U.S. Attorney’s Office October 26, 2012
  • District of Maryland (410) 209-4800

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced David Mitchell Rowe, age 65, of Linthicum, Maryland, today to 12 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for using a cell phone to coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity. Judge Legg ordered that upon his release from prison, Rowe must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Anne Arundel County Police Chief Larry W. Tolliver; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to his plea agreement, in June of 2011, Rowe was a member of the swimming pool association at a hotel in Linthicum, Maryland, where he befriended a 9-year-old girl. Over the course of a few days, Rowe played games in the pool with the girl, wrestled with her, touched her vagina over her bathing suit, and exposed his penis while she was underwater.

On June 10, 2011 when the girl’s family checked out of the hotel, Rowe asked the lifeguard at the pool to give the girl a velvet bag. The lifeguard delivered Rowe’s bag to the girl’s father. The bag contained a gold money clip engraved with the name Dave, and the money clip held a folded picture of Rowe. On the back of the photo Rowe had written his address and phone numbers, and requested that the girl write, call, or text.

Law enforcement was contacted and beginning on June 20, 2011, an undercover detective began a text message conversation with Rowe, assuming the identity of the girl. Under the belief that the detective was the girl, Rowe exchanged over 200 text messages with the detective in three days. Rowe discussed how he touched the girl, and that he knew she was 9 years old. Rowe also described in detail sexually explicit activity in which the girl should engage, and stated that he wanted to have sex with her.

On June 22, 2011, Rowe arranged to meet with the girl the next day, so that Rowe could perform oral sex on her. The next day, Rowe arrived at the agreed upon location and was arrested. The phone he had been using to text message was seized. The rear seats of the van Rowe was driving were folded down, and a blanket and a pillow were spread out.

After his arrest, Rowe disclosed that in the mid-1970s, he molested an 11-year-old girl who was visiting his house, and a 9-year-old girl in 2010 when he was visiting the girl’s family out of state. When law enforcement contacted them, both girls confirmed that Rowe had molested them.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the “resources” tab on the left of the page.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Anne Arundel County Police Department; Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul E. Budlow, who prosecuted the case.

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