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Residents to meet with police after 72-year-old sexually assaulted on trail

By Lisa Robinson

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    BALTIMORE, Maryland (WBAL) — Members of the community surrounding Leakin Park will meet with police Tuesday after a 72-year-old woman was attacked and sexually assaulted on a walking trail this month.

Police arrested Charles Avon Taylor, 46, with the crime. While that brought some relief, people who use the trails are concerned about public safety.

“During the pandemic, I walked every day on the woodland trails. I never saw a soul, never had a problem, but now, I would be hesitant to do so,” resident Mary Alice McCullough said.

Police said Taylor approached the victim from behind, showed her a gun and said, “I’ll kill you.” He then allegedly dragged her off the trail to an encampment and sexually assaulted her. She managed to escape and get help on Franklintown Road.

Bridget McCusker said she knows the victim.

“She’s doing OK. She’s very glad to be home,” McCusker said.

An avid walker herself, McCusker said she changed the way she uses the park.

“I’m not walking in the park these days by myself, because I don’t feel safe,” she said.

Residents said there isn’t adequate lighting or markers on the trail. There are no emergency boxes for people to call for help. They want to see more security.

“This is a 1,000-acre park. How do you have a park like that in Baltimore City and you have no police patrol?” resident Gale Fletcher said.

Baltimore police said they regularly patrol the park, including on foot. Those patrols have increased since the attack.

“There is trash in the park, there have been some shootings in the park. It just has all the things that you need to go there and think, ‘Well, I can do anything I want to do here,” Fletcher said.

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