Deputy seeks to bar complaints Two of 3 charges of harassment remain

July 07, 1993|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff Writer

A veteran Carroll County sheriff's deputy, who was cleared of one of three charges arising from an internal harassment complaint filed by a female co-worker, has asked a judge to bar Sheriff John H. Brown from pursuing the two other charges against him.

Cpl. Brett Fleagle, who has been in the department for about a decade, says the sheriff's intention to convene a second internal hearing board to consider charges of unbecoming conduct and failure to obey all rules "violates the protections afforded him" in the state Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

Corporal Fleagle's complaint, filed yesterday in Carroll Circuit Court, seeks an injunction against Sheriff Brown that would bar him from pursuing the remaining charges.

Sheriff Brown said he hadn't seen a copy of the complaint by yesterday afternoon and declined to comment on it.

Corporal Fleagle, on the advice of his attorney, also declined to comment yesterday. The corporal, who lives in Westminster, has been on paid stress leave for several weeks.

His attorney, Frank D. Coleman of Westminster, was said to be on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Police Communications Officer Karen Jarrell, who filed the internal misconduct charges against the corporal, has been on paid stress leave since before Easter. She declined to comment yesterday when she was reached at her Hanover, Pa., home.

Corporal Fleagle's court complaint seeks no monetary damages.

Officer Jarrell, who has worked in the department for about four years, alleged that Corporal Fleagle used sexually explicit language in front of her, ordered her to perform menial tasks and, on one occasion "pulled up his pants zipper" in her presence.

The alleged harassment occurred between June 1992 and December 1992, despite a previous warning by two superiors.

"You were verbally ordered . . . to not use profanity or suggestive remarks" around Officer Jarrell, the internal charging document said.

"However, from June 22, 1992, to December 22, 1992, you engaged in a course of conduct before female subordinate employees of the Carroll County Sheriff's Department that had the effect of creating an intimidating, offensive and hostile work environment," the document also alleged.

Officer Jarrell's complaint was heard May 24 by a three-member hearing board that included Frederick County Sheriff Carl R. Harbaugh, Cpl. Mark Knight of Washington County and Cpl. Theresa Walters of Harford County. At the five-hour hearing, George Lahey, an assistant county attorney who represented Sheriff Brown, proceeded only on a charge of insubordination, even though Corporal Fleagle was served with charges of unbecoming conduct and failure to obey rules at the time, the corporal's complaint said.

The three-member hearing board found Corporal Fleagle not guilty of insubordination, the complaint and Sheriff Brown said.

On June 17, Corporal Fleagle was notified that the sheriff intended to pursue the two unresolved charges.

The charges "were identical to the previous charges," the complaint said in seeking a court injunction. The complaint also said that the board's not guilty finding May 24 "terminates" the disciplinary process against Corporal Fleagle.

According to Sheriff Brown, neither Corporal Fleagle nor Officer Jarrell has been reassigned as a result of the disciplinary procedures.

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