Lauded deputy had been charged with assault

October 08, 2008|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,peter.hermann@baltsun.com

A Harford County sheriff's deputy who was named Sunday as The Baltimore Sun's Police Officer of the Year in community service had been arrested a month earlier and charged with assault after a woman alleged she was lured to a bachelor party and shoved down a flight of stairs.

A Baltimore Sun spokeswoman said in a statement that Deputy Jeffrey Gerres was chosen for the recognition and $500 award by a committee of employees - none of whom work in the news department - in early September. Baltimore police filed criminal charges against Gerres on Sept. 7, and The Baltimore Sun published a story on the arrest Sept. 9. The newspaper honored the deputy and other winners in a full-page advertisement Sunday.

"The committee was not aware of Gerres' suspension of his police powers when the award was acknowledged," Judy Berman, senior vice president of marketing for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, said in a statement.

Sgt. David Betz, a spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office, declined to comment.

Gerres was charged by Baltimore police after Denise L. Rothwell, a 47-year-old twice-convicted prostitute, told authorities that early Sept. 7 a group of men approached her, one showed a police badge, and asked her to join a party in a home on O'Donnell Street. Rothwell said she was offered $100 to perform a sex act on the bachelor, but then the man with the badge demanded the money back and pushed her down the stairs.

Gerres was charged with one count of second-degree assault and one count of allowing a person into a building for prostitution. His case is pending. He has filed a counter-complaint against Rothwell, alleging she hit him in the eye after he rejected her advances.

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