An 81-year-old Baltimore-area man was arrested on a warrant out of Trumbull County, accusing him of raping a Cortland girl two times in the past few years when the girl was between 9 and 11 years old.
Howard G. Garfield of Towson, Md., first admitted to the conduct during an interview in May with a social worker at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Baltimore, where he had gone to treat suicidal tendencies, according to a prosecutor’s complaint filed Wednesday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Garfield, who had gone by the name Howard Garfinkel until the 1950s, also told the social worker he had sent inappropriate text messages to the girl.
A hospital official notified Cortland police, who interviewed the girl’s mother, who said she’d been made aware recently of the inappropriate text messages to her daughter using an application on her iPod.
Garfield had been a longtime family friend and had extensive interactions with the family and her children, the woman said.
Police were able to view the iPod and found indications that text messages of a sexual nature had come from Garfield to the device.
A Baltimore County detective interviewed Garfield on June 6, at which time Garfield denied the allegations and denied saying anything to hospital officials.
But on June 10, Garfield admitted to having touched the girl inappropriately two times while the girl slept in a pop-up camper on her family’s property.
Garfield is expected to be brought to Trumbull County in the next couple weeks to face the charge.