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Ice rink manager guilty of assault

July 22, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

The general manager of the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex was found guilty Wednesday in Washington County District Court on one of two assault charges stemming from allegations he inappropriately touched a 17-year-old female employee.

Carl F. Langford, 41, of 10831 Clinton Ave. in Hagerstown, was found guilty on a misdemeanor count of second-degree assault in connection with a Feb. 23 incident at the rink by Washington County District Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr., court records say.

Long sentenced Langford to probation before judgment, fined him $300 and placed him on 18 months unsupervised probation, effective Jan. 21, records say.

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Langford was found not guilty Wednesday on a second misdemeanor count of second-degree assault in connection with an incident involving the same girl in late 2003.

Langford, who still is employed as general manager, said he hopes to continue working in the position that he has held for about seven years.

He declined to provide additional comments Tuesday.

According to charging documents, on Feb. 23, Langford kissed the girl on the lips while employees were singing "Happy Birthday" to her. The girl, who turned 17 that day, said she immediately slapped Langford on the chest, pushed him away and told him not to touch her, records say.

Employees who were at the Feb. 23 meeting said the girl's demeanor after the kiss was "surprised, mortified and speechless," records say.

Though the city owns the ice rink building, the nonprofit Hagerstown Sports and Ice Foundation runs the ice rink and is considered a lessee.

Penny Nigh, a voting member of the rink's board of directors and a member of the Hagerstown City Council, said she did not want to comment on the incident because she has not spoken with other board members and because she did not know about Wednesday's trial.

"As a person, I like Carl. I don't know what all this was about, but I would have liked to have been there today," Nigh said. "I need to know what all has taken place."

Two other members of the foundation's board could not be reached for comment Wednesday. The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Nigh said.

"I'm sure it's going to be discussed," Nigh said.

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