Report clears police chief, prosecutor says

February 03, 1994|By Bruce Reid | Bruce Reid,Sun Staff Writer

Maryland's state prosecutor has decided not to pursue a criminal case against Aberdeen Police Chief John R. Jolley, who was accused of mishandling a missing person case and taking for his personal use a pornographic videotape that had been seized as evidence.

In a seven-page report, prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli said investigators found "no criminal conduct in the way the [missing person] case was handled by the Aberdeen Police Department" in late 1992 and early 1993.

Mr. Montanarelli also said that there was no corroborating evidence to show that the chief took the videotape to give as a gift at a bachelor party, as was alleged by his former secretary, Vickie L. Horne.

Mr. Montanarelli's report summarizes the second of two investigations of the chief.

Last summer, the prosecutor found that although Chief Jolley had improperly managed a discretionary fund under his control and illegally voided dozens of parking and traffic tickets, no criminal charges were warranted.

Both investigations were requested by Aberdeen Mayor Ruth Elliott, who has criticized the chief's management of the Police Department.

Mrs. Elliott has tried to drive the chief from his job, but she has been thwarted by other members of the City Council.

Mrs. Horne, who has no police training, said she was assigned by Chief Jolley to work on the missing person case. The chief denies that.

The videotape at issue was seized from the home of the missing person, Andrew Seth Cowin, whose body was later found in Michigan.

"To me, those are the only conclusions it could logically draw," Chief Jolley said of the report. He said it "completely exonerates" him.

H. Edward Andrews III, attorney for Mrs. Horne and Aberdeen's city's police union, said he was displeased, adding, "I think there was enough to take this to the grand jury."

Mrs. Horne has sued Chief Jolley and the city of Aberdeen, alleging that the chief subjected her to sexually suggestive comments during the four years she was his secretary.

Chief Jolley has denied the harassment allegations.

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