Officer who admitted sex with informant loses plea Disciplinary panel trial starts Monday

November 10, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

An Anne Arundel circuit judge has ruled that a county police officer, who has admitted having sex with an informant, must face a department disciplinary trial board Monday.

Judge Martin A. Wolff's ruling yesterday clears the way for a hearing on complaints against Sgt. Bret K. Ballam, said Gail T. Watson, an assistant county attorney for the Police Department.

Thomas A. Pavlinic, the officer's lawyer, asked Judge Wolff to postpone the trial board so that he could appeal the case to the Court of Appeals.

But Judge Wolff said he saw no reason for a delay, given the administrative difficulties in scheduling the hearing and the approximately 40 possible witnesses. The hearing is expected to take about a week.

Sergeant Ballam is charged with conduct unbecoming an officer and with violating department rules that bar narcotics officers from having sexual relationships with informants.

He is accused of having sex with a 24-year-old Glen Burnie woman at his home.

The investigation began in April, when a county narcotics officer at Northern District station got a tip from a federal agent, who heard from an informant that county officers were sleeping with informants.

If Sergeant Ballam is found guilty, Chief Robert Russell would decide the punishment, which could range from fines to dismissal.

Mr. Pavlinic said the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights guarantees that his client can appeal any punishment to Circuit Court and to the state's appellate courts.

Sergeant Ballam had asked Judge Wolff to order police officials to decide on his punishment before the board hearing.

But Judge Wolff ruled against Sergeant Ballam on Sept. 28, calling the request "frivolous." He ordered the sergeant to pay the county $500 in legal fees.

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