A sex offender who was released from prison in April has been charged with fondling an 11-year-old girl in a Southwest Baltimore church, according to court records.
Police said Rodney Earl Key, 46, was in St. James Church's sanctuary in the 200 block of S. Augusta Ave. on Sunday when he put the girl on his lap and put his hand up her dress, records show.
The girl asked Key what he was doing and he said he was "going to give her a spanking but he couldn't because she was too sweet," according to charging documents. Key then told her that she was to keep the touching to herself, police say.
Police said the girl was a parishioner and that Key had been hired by the pastor to do work. The alleged incident did not occur during services but a "gathering about church affairs," according to Nicole Monroe, a city police spokeswoman.
Key has been charged with second-, third-, and fourth-degree sex offenses, sex abuse of a minor, and second-degree assault.
Key is a registered sex offender in Baltimore County, police said. Court records show that Key pleaded guilty in Talbot County Circuit Court in 2001 to child abuse by a parent for crimes that occurred between 1990 and 1998. He received 30 years in prison, with all but 14 years suspended.
David Blumberg of the Maryland Parole Commission said Key was twice turned down for parole but was released in April and placed on mandatory supervision until 2015.
In the Maryland Sex Offender Registry, Key's address is listed as 55 Wade Ave. in Catonsville, which is the location of Spring Grove Hospital, but police wrote in charging documents that he had just moved to the 3100 block of Stafford St. in Baltimore. Monroe said Key had been living at a homeless shelter, and state officials say he was compliant with the terms of the registry.