Candidate sues sheriff over release of work files Suit tries to stop Pepersack from revealing records

October 09, 1998|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Joan Jacobson contributed to this article.

County Sheriff Norman M. Pepersack Jr. was sued yesterday by his Democratic opponent in this year's election, former Deputy Sheriff Anne K. Strasdauskas, who wants the Baltimore County Circuit Court to stop Pepersack from releasing confidential personnel records.

A hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. today before Judge James T. Smith Jr.

Strasdauskas, represented by the Fraternal Order of Police, is seeking an emergency court order and a permanent injunction against Pepersack, an eight-year Republican incumbent who released her employment records last month, including disciplinary allegations, during an interview with The Sun.

The suit also seeks to prohibit Pepersack, a former Marine and state trooper with nearly 40 years' experience in law enforcement, from retaliating against deputies and other sheriff's office employees as a result of the legal action.

"It is clear that Pepersack can and will use his office against his political enemies in a deliberate and concerted effort to attempt to expose his political enemies to public embarrassment and ridicule by releasing and making public the confidential investigatory and personnel files under his control," the suit states.

The employment files included 11 disciplinary accusations against Strasdauskas, including allegations that she obtained motor vehicle information for personal use from police computers, parked in a handicapped space and used the telephone too often in a judge's chambers.

Pepersack's release of the documents is under review by the state prosecutor, who also is looking into the sheriff's involvement with a low-budget murder mystery film called "Handyman."

Repeated attempts to reach Pepersack yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.

Strasdauskas and her lawyer, Mary Kramer, charged yesterday that the sheriff violated rules and regulations, which order that employment records be confidential.

DTC Pepersack has defended his release of the files, saying an assistant state attorney general assigned to the sheriff's department advised him he could reveal them.

The charges in the personnel documents were not formally lodged against Strasdauskas, who was fired by Pepersack a year ago for failing to turn in her radio on time. She was reinstated by court order a month ago, but resigned to run her campaign.

The former deputy said yesterday that an injunction is necessary "to stop him from going against the law. The law is quite clear that this stuff is not to be disclosed."

Pub Date: 10/09/98

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