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State neither charged nor cleared Mades

February 20, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Maryland's state prosecutor said Thursday that his office neither charged nor cleared Washington County Sheriff Charles Mades on an assault allegation during a preliminary investigation in January.

Mades, who was charged in a private criminal complaint with second-degree assault, said an attorney at the Office of the State Prosecutor told him there was no basis to proceed with the case. But State Prosecutor Steve Montanarelli said the office made no decision because it did not have jurisdiction to do so.

Montanarelli said the office in January received a complaint against Mades in connection with an alleged May 1, 2003, incident at a "social club."

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Montanarelli, who is based in Towson, said the state prosecutor's office primarily investigates cases involving corruption or misconduct by public officials.

Montanarelli said the office did not have jurisdiction in this case because the alleged incident did not take place while Mades was on duty.

"In order to charge, the conduct has to be corrupt and related to his duties. This happened after hours at some type of social club," Montanarelli said. "They had nothing to do with his duties."

Montanarelli said he told the woman, identified in court records as Sigrid Knode of Smithsburg, that she would have to pursue charges locally.

Mades, in a statement he read during a telephone interview Wednesday, said he cooperated fully with a "high-level prosecutor" he spoke with from the state prosecutor's office.

"He then told me he had no basis to proceed, and he has not done so," Mades said.

Mades was charged with second-degree assault Wednesday after Washington County District Court Commissioner Craig Clevenger found probable cause in the private criminal complaint.

Knode, of Twin Springs Drive, alleged in a complaint filed Feb. 2 that Mades touched her inappropriately in the kitchen of the Chewsville Community Center on May 1, 2003.

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 her "services were not retained" in July 2003.

In Mades's statement, he said Knode was "discharged from the center."

Mades said Knode's statements were "absolutely false" and that he "welcomes the opportunity" to defend his name and vindicate himself in court.

The decision by the state prosecutor's office in January was similar to that of the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office last week.

Frederick County Deputy State's Attorney Charlie Smith said last week the case was forwarded to his office by the Washington County State's Attorney's Office because of a potential conflict of interest.

Smith said it was forwarded to the Washington County State's Attorney's Office by Clevenger, with whom Knode originally filed the complaint.

Smith said it was not the responsibility of his office to make a decision on the charge because Mades was not on duty at the time of the alleged incident.

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