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A convicted child sex offender is on trial in Harford County this week, accused of sexually abusing a girl when she was 8.

The now 15-year-old girl testified Tuesday that Irvine Gary Oelke, 75, was like a grandfather to her.

“Before all this happened, he was all nice and he cared about me,” the girl said in Harford County Circuit Court.

Oelke is charged with sex abuse of a minor, sex abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct and sexual solicitation of a minor. The trial before Judge Angela Eaves began with jury selection Monday and was scheduled to go to the jury today (Wednesday).

He pleaded guilty in Cecil County Circuit court in October 2004 to sex abuse of a minor and was sentenced to five years in jail, to serve 18 months. He entered an Alford plea, Maryland’s equivalent of no contest, in Baltimore County Circuit Court in April 2008 on charges he tried to kidnap a child younger than 12; he was sentenced to 10 years, with three of it suspended. He is serving the sentence at Jessup Correctional Institution.

The state wrapped up its case Tuesday morning and the trial was scheduled to resume in the afternoon, when Oelke planned to testify.

Another court case consumed the afternoon, and jurors were sent home around 5 p.m., told to come back this morning by 9:30 for closing arguments and deliberations.

Oelke was the live-in boyfriend of the girl’s grandmother, who lived in Edgewood. The girl lived in Baltimore County but would often visit, sometimes for the weekend, other times for a week at a time.

She said she would be watching television in her grandmother and Oelke’s bedroom and he would come in and allegedly touch her, and he allegedly made her touch him.

The alleged abuse occurred from January 2003 to January 2004.

The girl continued going to her grandmother’s house, but would bring her friend with her because the abuse didn’t happen when her friend was there.

The girl’s grandmother testified that her granddaughter used to want to visit her, but toward the end of 2004 she stopped visiting.

“I thought it was growing pains, she was being a teenager and didn’t want to be around her grandmother no more,” she testified Tuesday.

What wasn’t said in court was how the girl came to remember the abuse.

Oelke allegedly told her not to say anything about the abuse, and she didn’t, until she saw something on television that brought back the memories.

The girl was at a family picnic in 2008 when she walked by the TV and saw a news report about Oelke being sentenced to jail for trying to kidnap a young girl.

The girl told her parents about the abuse and they went to police.

When Oelke was interviewed by Trooper Michelle Workman, he allegedly told her the girl’s behavior was “out of control” and she was very mature, with “advanced sexual development,” Workman testified Tuesday.

He said he did touch the girl once, but that’s because she made him do it. He also said the girl flirted with him and made advances toward him, including trying to get him to come in the bathroom while she was in the tub. Oelke told Workman he went in there once, but only to wash her back.

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