BERLIN, Md.- A Worcester County Circuit Court judge has convicted a 61-year-old Berlin man on two counts of second-degree rape for the repeated sexual abuse of a child over a two-year period of time.

The Worcester County State's Attorney's Office said that prior to Keith Mariani's trial on Wednesday, the state filed a notice which increased the maximum penalty to life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years’ incarceration without parole on each count.

Sentencing was deferred by the court pending a presentence investigation.

The charges stem from a complaint of child sexual abuse received by the Worcester
County Sheriff’s Office in February of 2019. Prosecutors said the Worcester County Child Advocacy Center and Child Protective Services began a joint investigation which revealed that from 2017 through 2019, Mariani had repeatedly sexually abused a child at his home in Berlin.

Investigators said they recovered photographs and videos of Mariani engaging in the abuse after a search warrant was executed on his three cellphones. Mariani’s cellphones also contained vast quantities of child pornography involving unidentified victims, according to prosecutors.