Prosecutor won't investigate county sheriff Pepersack's release of personnel files excused

October 16, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

The state prosecutor has decided not to pursue a criminal investigation of Baltimore County Sheriff Norman M. Pepersack Jr. for releasing disciplinary records of a former deputy sheriff who is running against him.

Pepersack's opponent, Anne K. Strasdauskas, who filed a complaint against her former boss, said yesterday the chief of investigation for the prosecutor's office told her "there was no criminal intent on the part of the sheriff" in releasing her disciplinary records because "his action was taken with the advice of [an assistant] attorney general."

Last month, Pepersack gave details of 11 pending disciplinary charges against Strasdauskas to a reporter for The Sun. An assistant attorney general assigned to the Sheriff's Department said he advised Pepersack that the information could legally be made public.

However, lawyers for Strasdauskas and the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents more than 60 deputy sheriffs, have argued the information is confidential. They won a temporary court ban last week on the release of more personnel records involving Strasdauskas.

The state prosecutor's office also examined Pepersack's appearance in uniform with three deputies in the low-budget movie "Handyman," but decided not to pursue an investigation, Strasdauskas said she was told.

James I. Cabezas, the state prosecutor's chief of investigation, declined to comment and Pepersack did not respond to calls.

Pepersack fired Strasdauskas in December for failing to turn her radio in on time. Last month, she won her job back -- with 10 months of back pay -- by court order, but resigned to run against her former boss in next month's election.

Strasdauskas said the sheriff's decision to release her files is "still an ethical and moral question."

"He knew what he was doing. He was trying to ruin my political aspirations and my future in law enforcement," said Strasdauskas.

Pub Date: 10/16/98

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