Polygraph test allegation called unfounded by police Investigation said to find no misconduct

November 01, 1996|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Allegations that county police Lt. Thomas Suit ordered a subordinate to change the results of a polygraph test are "completely unfounded," Anne Arundel police said in a statement released yesterday.

Police said an investigation by Sgt. Keith Williams of the intelligence section found no criminal misconduct on the part of the lieutenant. The statement said the Maryland attorney general's office conducted a separate investigation and affirmed that the "allegations of misconduct were unfounded."

Assistant Attorney General Carolyn H. Henneman disputed that assertion, however.

"I did not say that," said Henneman, who reported her office's findings to police Chief Robert A. Beck. "I said I see no reason to reopen the matter."

Henneman would not say how her office conducted its investigation or what evidence she received.

The Sun, citing a court document and several law enforcement sources, reported Tuesday that Suit allegedly ordered polygraph examiner Robert Reid to change the results of a test given March 27 to a Glen Burnie woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a police sergeant from "deceptive" to "inconclusive." That misdemeanor charge against Sgt. Michael D. Feeney was dropped May 21.

Such a change in the polygraph results would boost the woman's credibility as a witness and allow prosecutors to withhold the test and interviews given before and after the test from the defendant's lawyer.

The sources for that article said yesterday they stand by their claims.

The allegation that the polygraph assessment was changed is ** contained in a court document filed by Gill Cochran, lawyer for Feeney, who was convicted in a separate case of sexually assaulting a drugstore manager in Annapolis and is charged with raping a second employee of the same store.

Cochran filed the document in an effort to obtain a report that could cast doubt on the police investigation of his client. The allegation was confirmed by sources close to the investigation.

Feeney was convicted July 31 of sexually assaulting the drugstore manager in December and was sentenced last month to 18 months in jail. He is to be tried in Howard County on the rape charge. No trial date has been set.

Confronted last week with the allegation of ordering the change in the polygraph results, Suit would not comment, and Beck refused to be interviewed.

According to the document and sources, Reid told a colleague -- veteran polygraph operator Lloyd White -- that the test indicated that the answers from the Glen Burnie woman who accused Feeney of assaulting her were deceptive, then called Suit, his supervisor in the Criminal Investigation Division, to report the results.

Suit, who was a licensed polygraph operator several years ago when he was a homicide detective, asked Reid to come to his office, according to the document and sources. Moments later, Reid returned and told White that Suit had ordered him to change the results to "inconclusive," and he followed the order, court documents and the sources said.

The report from a separate investigation of the incident sanctioned by the Anne Arundel state's attorney's office has been turned over to the FBI. The FBI would not comment. Two county police detectives who learned of the allegation against Suit were transferred from CID after Suit learned of the state's attorney's investigation.

Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Kelly said they were transferred because "someone was displeased with the level of their performance."

Police say Reid "never determined the results to be deceptive" and that he was "never ordered by Suit to alter the polygraph examination results."

Pub Date: 11/01/96

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