Crime

CECIL COUNTY — A married county couple is facing criminal charges after the husband allegedly raped his mentally challenged, adult stepdaughter while his wife — the mother of the alleged victim — watched, police reported.

The alleged victim told investigators that the suspects — Arthur Leslie Hickman Jr., 52, and his wife, Judy Lynn Hickman, 48 — wanted her to be a surrogate mother for them, police said. During separate police interviews, police added, Arthur and Judy Hickman corroborated that assertion regarding their desire for her to be a surrogate mother for them.

“The victim in this case is vulnerable adult,” explained Lt. Michael Holmes, a Cecil County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, placing the alleged turn of events into proper context.

Cecil County District Court charging documents indicate that the rape occurred at a Cecil County residence at some point during a 20-month period, starting on Jan. 1, 2015, and ending on Sept. 7.

While having lunch together, the alleged victim made her allegations to a confidante, who, in turn, contacted authorities, police said. That triggered a CCSO investigation that started Thursday, police added.

The alleged victim told the confidante that her mother and stepfather had been “repeatedly asking (her) to have their baby,” police reported.

“(The alleged victim) stated in 2015 she was raped by Arthur while Judy watched,” court records allege.

In addition, according to court documents, the alleged victim told CCSO detectives that Arthur repeatedly asked her to watch pornographic videos, some of which had incestual overtones.

Based on information supplied by the alleged victim and the confidante, investigators requested a signed search warrant from Cecil County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Keith A. Baynes, and he granted it to them about 3:30 p.m. Friday, police reported.

Investigators raided the suspects’ residence approximately 5 p.m. Friday, where they confiscated the laptop in the exact spot indicated by the alleged victim, police added.

“Numerous other items pertaining to (the alleged victims) were seized, which will be further analyzed to obtain additional evidence,” according to court records.

Investigators arrested the Hickman couple at another Cecil County residence about 4:40 p.m. Friday, court records show.

Arthur Hickman is charged with first-degree rape, second-degree rape, second-degree sex offense and second-degree assault while Judy Hickman is facing conspiracy counts mirroring those four offenses filed against her husband, according to court records.

A district court commissioner released the Hickmans on personal recognizance early Saturday, court records show.

“This investigation is continuing,” Holmes said.

On Tuesday afternoon, Kelly Keeton, a Cecil County Public Schools spokeswoman, confirmed that Arthur Hickman had worked for CCPS as a contractual, substitute bus driver and then reported that he no longer is a bus driver for the school system.

“He is a substitute driver employed by one of the bus contractors. No, he is not driving a bus,” she reported.

About two weeks ago, Hickman was operating as a substitute bus driver when he was involved in a collision at a Colora intersection — injuring two students who had been on his bus and the driver of the other vehicle.

Hickman was driving Bus No. 15 — which was carrying 17 students from Rising Sun High School to their home bus stops — in the southbound lane of Jacob Tome Memorial Highway shortly after 3 p.m. Aug. 30, the second day of this academic year, when a northbound 1989 Ford F-150 pickup truck attempted to make a left turn onto Liberty Grove Road, police said.

When the turning truck entered the southbound lane, the bus crashed into the passenger’s front side of the vehicle, police added.

The pickup truck driver was flown by MSP helicopter to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore after suffering undisclosed injuries, police reported. Ambulances transported the two injured students to an area hospital, to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.

Hickman declined medical treatment, police reported.

Holmes emphasized that Hickman did not commit his alleged offenses in this criminal case while functioning in any capacity directly or indirectly relating his substitute, contractual bus driver job.

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