Maryland state park manager charged with string of rapes, sex assaults

A Maryland Park Service employee who managed Gunpowder Falls State Park is charged with a string of rapes and other sexual assaults during a recent six-month period, according to Baltimore County police and court records.

Michael John Browning, 71, was arrested Tuesday on 21 counts, including seven felony charges of second-degree-rape and 14 misdemeanor assault and sexual contact charges. Police said Browning assaulted the same victim over the half-year span — the age or sex of the victim was not specified.

Browning is being held for a bond review and is due in a Towson courtroom Thursday afternoon.

Gunpowder Falls State Park covers 18,000 acres in Baltimore and Harford counties, and is one of Maryland’s largest state parks.

In 2019, Browning was one of the few remaining armed Maryland Park Service rangers, according to an article in the Herald-Mail. At the time, he was a captain.

Currently, Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources police are the law enforcers in Maryland’s state parks.

Department of Natural Resources media relations manager Gregg Bortz said the agency has been advised of the investigation and arrest, “and are cooperating fully.”

Asked whether Browning is authorized to carry a gun in his role as Park Manager, and to describe his current status with the agency, Bortz referred questions to county police.

Detectives said they believe there may be other potential victims and are asking anyone with information about Browning to call Baltimore County’s Special Victim’s Unit at 410-887-2223.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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