A Howard County police sergeant who regularly supervises a midnight shift in Columbia was indicted yesterday on several sex and assault charges and was suspended without pay.
Sgt. Thomas M. Martin, 39, of Elkridge is accused of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old Kensington woman in a secluded area about 2:15 a.m. Aug. 3. The 16-year veteran of the Howard police force is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond.
The Police Department said last night that Sergeant Martin was one of three shift supervisors working the midnight shift in
Columbia that day when he saw a woman walking on Little Patuxent Parkway near Running Brook Road.
Police said the woman appeared to be intoxicated and that Sergeant Martin stopped to help her. She told him she had been attending an Allman Brothers concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion and had become separated from her companions.
The woman told police that Sergeant Martin offered to drive her home to Montgomery County, but instead drove her to a secluded area and sexually assaulted her. He then drove her home, the victim told police. She called Montgomery County police, who called Howard County.
Sergeant Martin was suspended on the day of the incident, pending an investigation by the county's internal investigation unit.
After reviewing the case with State's Attorney Marna McLendon, investigators presented their case to a county grand jury, which charged him in an indictment with second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offenses and an assault and battery charge.
Sergeant Steven Keller, a police spokesman, said Sergeant Martin turned himself in after being notified of the indictment. Sergeant Martin has the right to ask for a hearing to challenge his suspension without pay, Sergeant Keller said.
Sergeant Keller said he did know the last time that a HowarCounty police officer was charged with a crime while on duty.
He said the last officer to be charged with a crime while off-duty was Dale Hill, a 10-year veteran who retired. He entered a plea agreement in August to charges that he had choked his 5-year-old daughter in a drunken rage during a domestic dispute.
In 1992, Sergeant Martin helped investigate the rape of a Howard County woman that later drew national attention. The woman had failed a polygraph test, and Sergeant Martin urged the woman to confess that she had lied.
She refused, and several months later a suspect confessed to raping her and another woman. The case was prominently featured in a nationally televised program dealing with the the unreliability of polygraph tests.
Sources within the Police Department, saying they feared that ,, the Aug. 3 incident might be swept under the rug, told The Sun this week that Sergeant Martin was being investigated. Top police officials refused to provide information for an article Tuesday.
The indictment comes eight months after police sources reported that a police lieutenant was sexually harassing female officers.
The lieutenant, who has not been identified, agreed to receive counseling and pay a $2,000 penalty as a result of the allegations, sources said. No arrests have been made in that case, and top officials have not commented on that allegation.