Alleged child rapist caught

WARREN – An elderly Baltimore area man faces two counts of rape with potential life-in-prison penalties for sexual attacks on an 11-year-old Cortland girl on two occasions.

Howard Garfield, 81, of Townson, Md., was arrested Thursday by a detective with Baltimore County Police Department and waived extradition later in the day.

Garfield, described as a longtime family friend of the victim’s family, will face an initial appearance before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Ronald Rice when he is returned to the area.

An affidavit in support of a prosecutor’s complaint prepared by assistant county prosecutor Gabe Wildman points out how Cortland Detective David Morris got a phone call May 3 from a social worker at Veterans Affairs Hospital in Baltimore.

The worker told Morris that Garfield was admitted to the facility with suicidal tendencies and he admitted fondling an 11-year-old girl when he was camping in Cortland while the girl was 9 or 10 years old, according to the affidavit.

Garfield admitted to having inappropriate contact with the girl through sexual text messages since the attack that took place in a pop-up camper on the property of the victim’s family, the affidavit states.

Morris contacted the family and found that the victim’s mother had just been made aware that Garfield had been sending her daughter ”sext” messages that made references to cuddling, kissing and bathing with each other.

He reportedly refers to the victim as his ”girlfriend,” according to the affidavit.

Morris also contacted Garfield’s son, Mike Garfinkel, and learned the suspect changed his name from Garfinkel to Garfield in the 1950s. He said his father has admitted to liking young girls in a sexual manner and was in the hospital under a suicide watch after expressing remorse over his actions, the affidavit states.

He even admitted to the Baltimore detective that he sexually assaulted his ex-wife’s sister when he was 22 years old and she was 9 years old.