Police, Firefighters Sex Scandal Raged Out Of Control

The Top Stories Of 1991

December 29, 1991|By Peter Hermann

The scandal involving Annapolis firefighters and police officers hadall the makings of a tabloid news 10-part series: sex, sex and more sex.

There were allegations of sex between firefighters and women in ambulances, between police officers and women in their cruisers and even sex on top of firehouse washing machines.

There was sex between a woman and the son of the Fire Department's first investigator. Then the second investigator botched up part ofthe probe by admitting that he too once had had sex with a woman involved in the case.

Finally, Annapolis Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, whohad distanced himself from the investigation, had to step into the fray and investigate the investigation he once called highly professional and thorough.

The mayor said last week that his investigation was complete and that he planned an announcement before the New Year.

It all started back in October, when City Attorney Jonathan Hodgson confirmed that two Annapolis firefighters had been disciplined as a result of an ongoing investigation into a "pattern of misconduct."

Two days later, Hopkins held a news conference to announce that the 11-week probe was complete. Three firefighters had been fired, two more suspended and two police officers suspended. Officials refused to answer questions and -- because of threats of a lawsuit -- refused to make public the names of the public safety officials involved.

On Nov. 5, however, several sources leaked the names to the news media. Disciplined were a Fire Department battalion chief, a police officer who once saved a boy trapped in an electrical transformer and a police officer who was shot three times with his own revolver in 1987.

But the Fire Department's investigation just couldn't hold up. Firefighter Robert "Tommy" Thomas, who was fired after denying he had sex while on duty four or five years ago, called the investigation a sham. He said he was denied due process and was singled out.

During his appellate hearing before the city's civil service board Dec. 6, awitness changed her story, telling the board she never saw Thomas get into an ambulance with a woman, as she had told investigators.

Then, on the second day of the hearing, Dec. 9, the city dropped all charges against Thomas and reinstated him to the force. An investigator in the case, city officials said, had had sex with a woman involvedwith the accused firefighters. Fire Chief Edward P. Sherlock told the board that the city's case against Thomas was "seriously compromised."

A second firefighter, Lt. Kenneth Rowe, wants his job back forthe same reason.

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