Convicted firefighter still on force Status angers victim of indecent exposure

October 29, 1997|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County firefighter convicted this month of exposing himself to two girls at Glen Burnie High School in 1996 remains on the force, angering one of the victims.

"If he remains a firefighter, he will be going in and out of people's homes and that really bothers me," said the 18-year-old Millersville woman.

A District Court judge found firefighter Gregg Allan Maxwell guilty Oct. 7 of walking into the school's cafeteria on March 20, 1996, and exposing his genitals to the two girls, then ages 16 and 15, who were practicing a dance routine before lunch, according to court records.

Maxwell, a 34-year-old Glen Burnie resident who had worked at the Brooklyn Park fire station for 11 years, was off duty at the time, according to fire officials and court records.

After exposing himself, Maxwell ran into the parking lot, and the girls told a teacher and a male student. The boy chased Maxwell, wrote down the license plate number of the car he drove away in and gave it to police, who arrested him, according to court records.

The Fire Department Hearing Board has scheduled a meeting Nov. 10 to decide if Maxwell should remain with the department or be fired, said Battalion Chief Gary Sheckells.

Anne Arundel County EMS/Fire/Rescue has continued to pay Maxwell his $37,143 annual salary since the incident. But his supervisors have kept him from the public by assigning him to warehouse duty at headquarters, Sheckells said.

The process of deciding whether to dismiss the firefighter has taken 20 months, because the department must wait for the court case to end, Sheckells said.

District Court Judge Joseph P. Manck found Maxwell guilty of indecent exposure and ordered him to stay away from high schools. He also said Maxwell must undergo a psychiatric evaluation before sentencing.

No date has been set for the sentencing.

"He [Maxwell] is entitled to the due process of law, and it would be premature of us to dismiss him or remove his pay before a final outcome in court," said Sheckells.

"However, to protect the citizens, we have placed him in a duty where he does not have any contact with the citizens," Sheckells said.

"We understand [the victim's] concerns, but we have to be fair to all parties," he said.

Maxwell's attorney, Michael Gilligan, said his client "denied doing the act, but we felt there was enough evidence to convict." He would not comment further.

Much of the evidence was the identification by the two girls, according to court records.

After school administrators gave police the car's license number, officers traced the Burgundy Acura Legend to Maxwell's home on Foxwell Court in Glen Burnie, according to court records.

Police found Maxwell at the house, drove him back to the school and asked the girls to identify him.

Although Maxwell's clothes were now different, the girls were certain he was the man who had exposed himself to them, according to court records and an interview with a victim.

"That's definitely him," one of the girls said, according to court records.

James Edwards, president of the local firefighters' union, said he knew nothing about the case.

"I can't remember the last time someone in our fire service has gotten into trouble like this," said Edwards.

"This is very rare."

The Millersville victim, who graduated from Glen Burnie High School last spring, said she was unnerved by the incident.

She said she continues to worry that Maxwell will blame her and the other victim for his problems.

"I just don't want him to come after me if he ends up losing his job and his house and his wife," she said.

Pub Date: 10/29/97

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