The case of the city-paid sex offender gets more absurd

March 28, 2011|By Luke Broadwater

In the annals of great ripoffs in Baltimore City history, this one surely has earned its place -- first, for the facts surrounding the waste of taxpayer money, and now for its sheer absurdity.  

My former Examiner co-worker, Stephen Janis (who now runs the investigative reporting website Investigative Voice and occasionally freelances for b, among other projects) broke this story in 2010: 

The city government paid a Department of Public Works employee nearly $13,000 in sick pay while he was in jail serving an eight-month sentence after being convicted of a sex offense. 

Yes, really. McLaughlin was not out sick. He was sitting in a jail cell. 

Realizing the mistake, the city has sued McLaughlin to get the money back, but he's fighting the lawsuit.

The latest wrinkle in this matter happened when the case went to court Friday. 

McLaughlin's attorney, David Love, said his client is entitled to sick pay, regardless of the nature of his crime. 

“Because he earned it,” Love said. "Whether he’s Mother Teresa or a sex offender, he earned the money." 

Now, maybe Love has a legit legal argument here. I don't know. If McLaughlin did, indeed, save up enough unused sick time to equal more than $12,000, maybe, by law, he should be paid it, regardless of his crime or imprisonment. 

But if that's the law, then the law is truly, unequivocally ridiculous. 

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