Policeman Accused Of Harassment

Sexual Misconduct Probe Is Force's Second In Weeks

March 05, 1992|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff writer

A second high-ranking county police official is under investigation for allegedly sexually harassing women, department officials confirmed yesterday.

Capt. Richard Smith, who heads the Criminal Investigation Division, has been accused of harassment, police spokesman Officer V. Richard Molloy confirmed yesterday. Molloy refused to comment further on the accusations, citing laws forbidding public comment on personnel matters.

Police sources said the two women -- both civilian employees -- notified the department's Internal Affairs Unit of their allegations two weeks ago.

Smith, a 21-year veteran of the force, has not been charged with either criminal or departmental violations and has not been suspended from his job.

When a reporter told Smith about the allegations on Tuesday, he said he was "shocked" by the harassment allegations.

"Don't listen to all the rumors you hear," he said.

It could not be determined yesterday when the harassment was alleged to have occurred.

Police sources said one of the women complained that Smith locked himself in her office and made sexually explicit comments to her.

Smith, who was the commanding officer during a 120-mile high-speed chase last July, has been charged with violating department policy during the chase, which began and ended in Glen Burnie.

Officers under his command threw fire extinguishers and flares at the fleeing driver.

Another police official, Capt. Don F. Ward, was suspended from his job as commander of the Northern District policestation Feb. 22 pending an investigation.

Although not charged criminally or within the department, Ward, 47, was accused of raping one woman in 1986, exposing himself to another, assaulting a third and sexually harassing the fourth.

All of the women are department employees.

The incidents allegedly occurred in 1986 while Ward was commander of the police training academy in Davidsonville.

Once the investigation is complete, the case will be referred to the State's Attorney's Office, which will decide whether charges should be brought.

Last year, Officer Michael Ziegler was charged criminally with raping a woman he stopped for drunken driving.

The charges were dropped, and Ziegler was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge of misconduct in office. He resigned from the department.

In 1979, Ziegler received a 30-day suspension after a woman claimed that he raped her in her home as her daughter and another girl slept in the next room. He was not criminally charged.

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