Pink Slip Points To Firefighter's Lack Of Cooperation

Fire Chief's References To Sexual Misconduct Unspecific

November 21, 1991|By Robert Lee | Robert Lee,Staff writer

A pink slip given to an Annapolis firefighter indicates that his lack of cooperation with investigators weighed more heavily in his termination than his alleged involvement in sexual misconduct.

The firefighter's attorney said the city failed to produce specific evidence of any wrongdoing.

Twenty-four-year veteran Lt. Kenneth Rowe's pink slip was made public yesterday as part of a motion filed in Circuit Court to delay his termination.

The pink slip delivered Nov. 1 from Fire Chief Edward Sherlock cites Rowe's engagement in "prohibited sexual conduct" and "failure to answer these questions truthfully" as the reasons for his termination.

FOR THE RECORD - A story in yesterday's Anne Arundel County Sun incorrectly reported the status of an Annapolis firefighter implicated in a sexual misconduct case. Lt. Eden Avery has been suspended without pay.

Sherlock did not expand on the sexual misconduct, but did strongly condemn Rowe for not cooperating with the investigation, calling it "a flagrant act of insubordination" and "a breach of discipline.

"Such conduct cannot be tolerated," Sherlock wrote. "This is especially true of an employee of your rank and experience."

"I can't wait for a public hearing onthis," said Rowe's attorney, Ronald Baradel. "I asked for and was told I received all of the evidence used against my client and there isnothing, not a single shred of evidence that (Rowe) was involved in the activities that have been related in the press as 'Annapolis' great sex scandal.' "

City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson said Rowe's pinkslip has been withdrawn, but that a new one containing more specificcharges will be issued. Rowe will then have at least another 20 daysto appeal his case.

Hodgson said yesterday that two other firefighters implicated in the scandal will no longer be with the department. Battalion Chief James Jones, who was criticized for allegedly knowing of the misconduct but not stopping it, has negotiated an early retirement and Lt. Eden Avery's termination is effective today, Hodgson said.

Baradel complained in his motion that the city of Annapolis did not present any facts to explain why Rowe was being terminated.

"There's nothing to respond to in this. It says (Rowe) engaged in prohibited sexual conduct. What's that mean? Can you tell us what decade? He's been with the department for 24 years. Can you tell us who? When? Where?"

Two other firefighters and two police officers, whomMayor Alfred Hopkins said were involved in sexual misconduct but cooperated with the investigation, have been suspended for 30 days.

Baradel, who says he reviewed all the documents that allegedly implicated Rowe, says none of them connects his client to the sex scandal. He has demanded a retraction from Hopkins, who announced the punitive actions Nov. 1.

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