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Accused county worker resigns

January 05, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

Steven Kenneth Spalding, 45, who was arrested last week on sex charges, resigned his county government job Wednesday, Washington County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

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The resignation was the result of negotiations between Douglas and D. Bruce Poole, Spalding's attorney, following Tuesday's closed session of the Washington County Commissioners, Douglas said.

Spalding will receive no compensation from the county for his resignation beyond post-termination benefits given to all employees under county personnel policies and state and federal law, Douglas said.

"Spalding, who has worked for the county since 1991, has recently been charged with a number of serious criminal charges that would make it difficult for him to continue his present employment under the circumstances," Douglas said in a news release.

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"According to his attorney, D. Bruce Poole, Spalding made the difficult decision to terminate his employment with the county because he did not want the County Commissioners to continue to face pressure from The Herald-Mail for having him receive pay, pending a trial on the charges," Douglas said.

"Poole said that the resignation would also permit him to devote all of his time to prepare his defense against the charges," Douglas said.

"I think the newspaper appears to be prejudging this case. And I think that's a real mistake," Poole said in a phone interview.

Spalding was suspended with pay Dec. 29, the same day he was arrested at his home and charged with 38 counts including second-degree rape, child pornography and other sex offenses.

Some of the charges involved a 13-year-old Washington County girl he met over the Internet, police alleged.

Spalding was a project manager in the county's Engineering Department. His annual salary was about $36,000, according to county documents.

"According to his supervisors in the Engineering Department, Spalding has been a very good employee who has always gone beyond what was required to complete the projects assigned to him," Douglas said. "The county has thus far found no evidence that Spalding misused his office computer, which did not have Internet access. A search of the computers yielded no evidence of a crime. Another computer to which he occasionally had access was also free of any such evidence."

Spalding was released after posting a $75,000 property bond.

Spalding and Poole did not attend Tuesday's meeting.

Spalding served two terms on the Hagerstown City Council, from 1981-1989.

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