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Woman accuses sheriff of assault

February 19, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades has been charged with second-degree assault, according to court records.

The charge was brought at the Washington County District Court Commissioner's office after a woman filed a private citizen's complaint.

Mades called the allegations "absolutely false" late Wednesday.

Sigrid K. Knode of Twin Springs Drive in Smithsburg alleged, in a complaint filed Feb. 2, that Mades touched her inappropriately in the kitchen of the Chewsville Community Center on May 1, 2003. Knode alleged Mades touched her three to five times while she was working in the kitchen area.

J. Paul Krawczyk Jr., a Towson-based attorney representing Knode, said his client was an employee at the Washington County Detention Center at the time of the incident but did not specify what her position was. Krawczyk said he did not know the details behind the ending of Knode's employment at the detention center, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Washington County Sheriff's Department, in July 2003.

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Krawczyk did not give a reason why Knode waited nine months to file the complaint. He said Knode had up to one year to do so.

"It was discretion on her part. This is the time she thought it was best to file," Krawczyk said.

Knode said Wednesday he knew of no relationship between his client and Mades other than the two knew of one another from technically being co-workers.

In a statement he read during a Wednesday night telephone interview, Mades said Knode's statements are false, and that he cooperated with a January investigation into the allegations. Mades confirmed that Knode is a former employee of his, and that he received the charging document Wednesday.

"I intend to defend myself against these false allegations and welcome the opportunity to vindicate myself in court," Mades said.

Mades said the case is scheduled to be heard on April 1 in Washington County District Court.

Washington County State's Attorney M. Kenneth Long declined to comment on the case last week.

Frederick County Deputy State's Attorney Charlie Smith said last week the case was forwarded to his office by Long because of a potential conflict of interest. Smith said it had been forwarded to the Washington County State's Attorney's Office by District Court Commission Craig Clevenger.

Smith said commissioners are obligated to consult with the state's attorney's office prior to the issuance of any charges against an officer who was on duty at the time of an alleged offense. Smith said that happens between Washington, Frederick and Montgomery counties at least a dozen times a year to avoid potential conflicts.

Smith said he sent the case back to Clevenger noting the decision had to be made by him because Mades was not on duty at the time of the alleged incident.

"We don't want to set any precedents or to take on duties we are not supposed to have," Smith said.

Clevenger found probable cause on the second-degree assault charge Wednesday, court records said. Clevenger declined to comment on the case Wednesday at Washington County District Court.

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