Wife Had Accused Alderman In 1986

Annapolis Official Is Now Charged With Groping Mid

July 01, 2009|By Nicole Fuller | Nicole Fuller,nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

An Annapolis alderman and mayoral candidate charged with sexually assaulting a male midshipman was the subject of a 1986 restraining order after his wife accused him of beating her, court documents show.

Alderman Samuel E. Shropshire, 61, denied the claims in an interview Tuesday. Jana Shropshire made the accusations in a Montgomery County divorce filing that also contained allegations that the alderman "has a problem with homosexuality" but had been "cured" before they were married.

The divorce was never finalized. While the Shropshires remain married, she has lived for years in her native Slovakia, as does their adult daughter.

Reached yesterday by telephone, Jana Shropshire declined to discuss the divorce case in detail. "That was 20 years ago. Why do you bring it up?" she said from her home in Poprad, a city in northeastern Slovakia. "I don't want to talk about it. It's all in the past."

Shropshire, a first-term Democrat said, "None of it's true. ... Deny that it happened? Of course I do."

Gill Cochran, an attorney who is defending Shropshire against the charges involving the midshipman, said yesterday that his client and wife are "no longer" together though they remain legally married. He called the 23-year-old allegations "ancient history" that should have no bearing on Shropshire's current legal troubles.

"My client is gay. And he's never tried to hide it," Cochran said. "He's no longer with his wife. Sam is a gay man. I don't think there's any law against it."

Shropshire declined yesterday to address his lawyer's statement, saying only, "I love my wife very much, and she loves me."

Shropshire is accused of groping a Naval Academy midshipman May 14 and has been charged with second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense. He has called the accusation "a lie."

The 21-year-old male midshipman, who is not being named by The Baltimore Sun because of the nature of the allegations, had been paired with Shropshire through a sponsorship program that matches Naval Academy students with Annapolis-area families. Shropshire has been removed from the program.

In the divorce filing, Jana Shropshire alleged that within a year of their marriage in the former Czechoslovakia in 1977, Samuel Shropshire "started a pattern of physical and then verbal abuse." In the filing, Jana Shropshire alleged that her husband "had had a great many problems since the marriage because of homosexuality," but added that he told her he had been " 'cured' before they were married."

She alleged that the abuse spanned years, and that she once required treatment at a Rockville hospital in 1986, after which she received a protective order.

Shropshire, who at the time of the filing was working as a minister for an organization called Christian Response International, wrote to the judge that he could not afford a lawyer for his defense.

The divorce proceeding was dismissed on May 7, 1987, court records show.

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