Week In Review

September 25, 2005

Pasadena

Woman, 56, jailed for role in abuse

A Pasadena woman was jailed Monday for her role in leaving a mentally disabled relative in a dark, dirt-floored, trash-strewn basement with two dogs, where paramedics found him with festering sores on his dehydrated body, too ill to walk.

Mary Alice Caruso, 56, told Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Nancy Davis-Loomis that her estranged husband, Benjamin Caruso, moved 55-year-old Michael Ebert to the basement to place him closer to the house's only bathroom. Charging documents said Benjamin Caruso, who is scheduled for trial next month on abuse charges, told them Ebert had been urinating on the floor upstairs.

Benjamin Caruso, 56, was the legal guardian of Ebert, who has Down syndrome, said Assistant State's Attorney Laura S. Kiessling. Caruso had been caring for Ebert since 2002, according to the charging documents.

Mary Alice Caruso, who pleaded guilty this month to abuse of a vulnerable adult, was sentenced to two months in the county jail, to be followed by 10 months of house arrest and five years of supervised probation.

Maryland section, Tuesday, Sept. 20.

Annapolis

Townsend beats Fox for council seat

Laura Townsend unseated incumbent Annapolis Alderman Michael W. Fox in otherwise lackluster primary elections Tuesday in Annapolis.

In Ward 7, Townsend defeated fellow Republican Fox, 106-71. With no Democratic candidate for the seat, she likely will become the ward's alderwoman when the new council is seated Dec. 5.

In Ward 3, Alderwoman Classie G. Hoyle defeated Michael "Scott" Bowling in the Democratic primary. She faces no opposition in November.

In Ward 1, Democrat Richard E. Israel defeated Alice O. Johnson and will face Republican Douglas Burkhardt, who was unopposed in the primary.

In Ward 2, Debbie R. McKerrow defeated Joseph Simms in the Democratic primary. Michael I. Christman beat David A. Hanson and Robert H. Eades in a three-way GOP primary.

Ward 1 incumbent Louise Hammond chose not to seek another term, and incumbent Sheila M. Tolliver in Ward 2 was planning to move away from the city within a few years.

Maryland section, Wednesday, Sept. 21.

Schools

Records lacking on 600 workers

About 600 Anne Arundel County public school employees lack proof of criminal background checks, a personnel records review uncovered, leading schools officials to begin scrambling to fingerprint several hundred workers.

A mobile fingerprint unit began visiting county schools Monday, said Florence Bozzella, director of human resources for the school system. The goal is to have the problem corrected by Oct. 31.

The full review of personnel records was done after an audit this summer that said approximately 28 people in a random sample of 112 employees did not have complete and timely criminal background screenings. The screenings have been required by law since 1986.

Although some employees might not have been fingerprinted, others who had been fingerprinted lacked documentation of it in their files.

Of the 600 employees for whom no documentation was in their personnel file, 200 have given the school system proof - such as a fingerprint card - that the check was done, Bozzella said. She attributed the discrepancy to a number of changes in the background check process and record keeping over nearly 20 years.

Maryland section, Wednesday, Sept. 21

Annapolis

Public housing chief is named

Eric C. Brown, a former deputy housing director in Baltimore, was named Wednesday as the new head of Annapolis' 10 public housing complexes.

Brown will be paid $100,000 a year, said Trudy McFall, chairwoman of the Annapolis Housing Authority's board of commissioners. Brown signed a three-year contract and will start work Oct. 10, McFall said.

In addition to working in Baltimore, Brown has held management positions at public housing authorities in New Orleans; Birmingham, Ala.; and Meridian, Miss. He earned a law degree from Miles Law School in Birmingham, and has a master's degree in urban and regional planning and a bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi. He was born in Indianola, Miss.

Brown will take over from Dennis Conti, a retired businessman who has held the position in an interim capacity since April.

Maryland section, Thursday, Sept. 22

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