Balto. Co. official put on leave

Aide's suit alleges sexual battery by schools administrator

June 08, 2000|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Richard M. Milbourne, a top administrator with the Baltimore County school system, was placed on paid administrative leave yesterday, pending the outcome of an investigation of allegations of assault and sexual battery by his administrative assistant.

Milbourne, who until recently was acting deputy superintendent, the school system's No. 2 position, was placed on leave at 5 p.m. yesterday, said Charles A. Herndon, a spokesman for the school system.

Milbourne is a defendant, along with Superintendent Anthony G. Marchione and all 12 members of the Board of Education, in a lawsuit filed recently on behalf of Kathleen Vockroth in Baltimore County Circuit Court.

Vockroth, who worked with Milbourne at school system headquarters in Towson for about a month before she requested leave, is seeking $4.7 million in damages. Neither she nor her attorney, Thomas J. Dolina, was available for comment yesterday.

Faults school board

In the complaint, Vockroth says Milbourne kissed and groped her in his office in April, making "lewd and suggestive statements."

She says Marchione and the school board failed to stop Milbourne from "creating a sexually hostile work environment."

No criminal charges have been filed.

Peter S. Saucier, an attorney who represents Milbourne, said yesterday that his client would prefer to continue working despite the lawsuit.

"It's not our decision," said Saucier. "We were told they were considering nonpunitive administrative leave, but that's all they have told us. It's not something he requested."

Milbourne, 60, has many supporters, Saucier said. "People who know him know these allegations are false," the lawyer said.

Held two posts

Until recently, Milbourne was acting deputy superintendent and central area superintendent.

Milbourne became acting deputy superintendent in February, shortly after Elfreda W. Massie, the school system's deputy superintendent, resigned.

He has been central area superintendent for about four years.

He has been a member of the superintendent's staff, a group of administrators, for at least 10 years. Exactly when Milbourne was relieved or who is filling that job was unclear yesterday.

Marchione, who is to retire June 30, was unavailable for comment, as was Joe Hairston, who will succeed him July 1.

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