Baltimore County Digest


February 16, 2007

Escapee suspected in home invasion

A man caught by police after escaping a psychiatric facility is suspected in a Catonsville home invasion, authorities said yesterday.

Maurice Vanison, 36, is accused of fleeing Spring Grove Hospital Center in Catonsville Feb. 8 after assaulting two nurses, state police said. Vanison had been brought to the state psychiatric facility from Central Booking and Intake Center in Baltimore, where he had been held since December on armed robbery, theft and assault charges, according to police.

Vanison is suspected in a home invasion about 10:30 a.m. that day in the 400 block of Shadynook Ave., authorities said. A man with a similar description assaulted an 80-year-old woman, stole her purse and drove off in her 1995 blue Geo Metro, authorities said.

A multi-jurisdictional task force tracked him and he was arrested shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday at a liquor store near Pennsylvania Avenue and Fulton Street in Baltimore, police said. Vanison was being held without bond at the Baltimore County Detention Center, state police said.

Vanison is also named in open warrants from other Maryland jurisdictions on charges that include attempted second-degree murder, theft, first-degree assault and second-degree assault, state police said. Larry Fitch, director of forensic services for the state's Mental Hygiene Administration, said yesterday that hospital officials were unaware of these charges.

"If we had know about [Vanison's] outstanding charges ... he would have gone to Perkins Hospital," he said, referring to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a maximum-security state psychiatric facility in Jessup.

Nick Shields

Owings Mills

Psychiatrist must surrender license

A 62-year-old Owings Mills psychiatrist has been ordered to surrender his medical license, serve 18 months of probation and complete 150 hours of community service for illegally distributing prescription pain pills, according to a Baltimore County prosecutor and court records.

Dr. Nelson H. Hendler, a nationally known pain management specialist, pleaded guilty this week to possession with intent to distribute Oxycodone. By entering an Alford plea, Nelson did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Kathleen G. Cox accepted the plea agreement and granted Hendler probation before judgment, which spares the psychiatrist a conviction on his record.

John B. Reilly, the county prosecutor who handled the case, said a key component of the plea agreement was the requirement that Hendler surrender his medical license.

The Maryland Board of Physicians suspended Hendler's license about a year ago, alleging that the medical director and founder of the Mensana Clinic in Stevenson traded drugs for sex with patients and handed out pain pills without proper prescriptions. The suspension order accused Hendler of sexual misconduct with three patients and with failing to maintain his office in a clean and sanitary condition.

A search of the clinic in January 2006 by county police detectives and state medical board investigators uncovered more than 5,800 tablets that had originally been prescribed for more than 160 patients, including narcotics such as morphine and OxyContin, according to the state board's suspension order.

The doctor was indicted in May on criminal drug distribution charges. His medical license -- suspended in February 2006 -- expired in July, according to the state physicians' board.

Three civil lawsuits filed by former patients against Hendler are pending, including one scheduled for trial in July.

Jennifer McMenamin


School board reschedules meeting

Because of inclement weather, the Baltimore County school board meeting has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Support Services Building, 6901 Charles St., Towson.

The board is expected to vote on Superintendent Joe A. Hairston's $1.16 billion proposed operating budget for the next school year.

The meeting schedule can be confirmed at the school system's Web site:


Jacksonville park meeting set

A second community meeting to review plans for the development of the Jacksonville park will be held March 6.

The $5.3 million park will be located on a 30-acre site north of Four Corners, formerly known as the Ruth property.

The meeting -- with officials from the county's Department of Recreation and Parks -- will be held at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of the Jacksonville Elementary School, 3400 Hillendale Heights Road. If public schools are closed, the meeting will be rescheduled.

Information: 410-887-3871.


Rhoden to speak at college

A sports columnist for The New York Times will provide a political and cultural analysis of the accomplishments of African-American athletes at the Community College of Baltimore County's Essex campus.

William C. Rhoden's talk, "Forty-Million-Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall and Redemption of the Black Athlete," is the first event in the college's spring speaker series.

The talk is scheduled at 12:20 p.m. Wednesday in the B Building Theatre at CCBC Essex, 7201 Rossville Blvd. Information: 410-780-6572.

Events or news items for the Baltimore County Digest may be submitted to Information should be sent at least 10 days in advance of the event.

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