1989 incident raised in 12th District race for House of Delegates

Candidate Ring notes rival's harassment transfer

August 29, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The race for the 12th District House of Delegates seats heated up this week when a Democratic challenger said voters should be aware that a rival candidate who is a retired Baltimore County police officer was disciplined for harassing a female job applicant in 1989.

Craig Ring said that Steven J. DeBoy Sr. was transferred out of the Police Department's Employment/Affirmative Action Division and placed in the uniform division after a female officer complained about his conduct while she was interviewing a female applicant in 1989.

The officer also filed a federal sexual harassment lawsuit.

"It's something I think the voters should be aware of," said Ring, 49, of Catonsville.

Lawsuit filed in 1990

Anne Fiedler, a former county police officer, filed suit in U.S. District Court in 1990 against the county Police Department alleging that as she was interviewing a female applicant June 22, 1989, a group of male officers came into the area to gawk at the applicant.

When Fiedler told the officers to leave, DeBoy gestured to his groin with both hands and made an offensive remark, according to the lawsuit.

DeBoy, 46, of Halethorpe, was not named as a defendant, and the lawsuit was settled in 1991 for $245,000.

Ring said he was alerted to the suit by a neighbor last week after an article about the 12th District race appeared in The Sun.

"I think people have a right to know about this," said Ring, a machinist at Sweetheart Cup Corp.

DeBoy, who is running on a ticket with Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer and Del. James E. Malone Jr., said the incident was "the only blemish" on a 20-year career as an officer that ended in 1995 when he retired.

A county police spokesman confirmed yesterday that DeBoy, 46, retired voluntarily.

"I made a gesture kidding around 15 years ago, and I wish I hadn't," DeBoy said. "How many times can you apologize for something?"

DeBoy said the incident was reviewed by Howard County police officials before they hired him as a full-time civilian investigator in 1998.

`Completely open'

"I was completely open with Howard County, and it didn't hurt me there," he said.

The issue became public just before the 1998 election, when DeBoy lost by 251 votes to Del. Donald F. Murphy. Murphy's home was taken out of the district when legislative boundaries were redrawn this year. He is not seeking re-election.

The 12th District covers Catonsville, Arbutus, Lansdowne, Oella and parts of eastern Howard County.

The district is divided into two parts, with two delegates elected from 12A to represent communities in Baltimore and Howard counties. Del. Elizabeth Bobo, a Democrat and a former Howard County executive, is running unopposed for the 12B seat representing communities in Howard County.

Malone and Kasemeyer said they were aware of the incident. They said it never became a campaign issue in 1998 and hasn't become one in this year's race. They said they have no plans to drop DeBoy from the ticket.

"When we go out to different meetings and campaign forums, it's just not something people ask about," Kasemeyer said.

Added Malone, "To me, it's old news."

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