Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Germantown restaurant manager charged with sexual abuse

Three acquaintances lost consciousness after accepting drinks, police say

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A Germantown man who allegedly took advantage of female acquaintances he had invited to his apartment for drinks was charged Friday with second-degree rape and other sex offenses, police said.

Eric David Rose, 31, of Germantown plans to contest the charges, his lawyer said Monday.

The incidents occurred between September and March and involve women who say they lost consciousness after Rose served them drinks. When they woke up, Rose was touching them sexually, according to a statement by Montgomery County Police.

Police are investigating whether the alcoholic drinks were drugged, according to Blanca Kling, a police spokeswoman.

Rose of the 18000 block of Chalet Drive was charged with second-degree rape and two counts of third-degree sexual offense, police said. He lives at the Germantown address with his fiancée and 19-month-old daughter.

On Monday, District Court Judge Barry A. Hamilton set bond at $100,000, put Rose on home arrest and allowed him to continue working at the Lone Star Steakhouse, where he is a manager.

James A. Shalleck, Rose’s attorney, said at the bond hearing that Rose will fight the charges.

He contested the prosecution’s version of events, pointing out that no drugs were found at the home during the police search and that the accusers had all been at the home partying and consuming alcohol with other friends.

‘‘We question the motivation of some of these statements,” Shalleck said, flanked by Rose’s fiancée and several of her family members. ‘‘He’s not a predator... This is not a serial danger. These people knew my client.”

A 24-year-old Montgomery Village woman told police on March 19 that she had been raped by Rose after drinking with him and co-workers at a Gaithersburg bar, police said. The group returned to Rose’s apartment, police said, and the woman lost consciousness after drinking a beverage he provided. Rose was having intercourse with her when she woke up on March 13, police said.

Two other women told similar stories during the investigation, according to the statement. A 20-year-old female from Dickerson said she began lapsing in and out of consciousness after drinking a beverage provided by Rose at a party at his apartment in mid-November, police said. She remembered him touching her inappropriately while in a bedroom, police said.

And a 19-year-old woman from Gaithersburg said she became sick and lost consciousness after accepting a drink from Rose at his apartment Sept. 16 after returning from a bar with him and some friends, police said. The woman was being touched inappropriately by Rose in a bedroom when she woke up, police said. She then pushed him away and told him to stop.

Anyone with further information or who believes they were victimized by Rose is asked to call 240-773-5070.

Staff Writer Sebastian Montes contributed to this report.