Court briefs

July 14, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

Businessman charged with sexual assault

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Berkeley County businessman was charged Thursday with sexually assaulting a female employee three days after she was hired in September 2005, magistrate court records show.

Harry Lee Ridgely, 30, owner of L&H Storage at Winchester Avenue and Pack Horse Ford Road, was arraigned by Magistrate Sandra L. Miller, who set a $15,000 bond for his case.

Court records also link Ridgely to a Frederick, Md., address at 5390 Agro Road.

In a written statement, the victim told police that Ridgely on Sept. 29 put his hand on her neck at the business office and then slid it down into her shirt and under her bra, records state.

"I said 'no, no, no, no - what are you doing?," the woman stated. "He said, 'I guess I had better stop before I get into trouble.'"


Before leaving the business, the victim said she told Ridgely she couldn't work for someone who violated her and that her husband would be coming to get her paycheck, records state.

If convicted, Ridgely could be sentenced up to five years in jail and fined $10,000.

Dogs taken from canine shelter owner

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The owner of a south Berkeley County canine shelter has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to post a $25,000 bond meant to pay for 30 days of care for 149 dogs that authorities have alleged were mistreated.

Mara Spade, director of Second Chance Rescue for 12 years, has been charged with one count of animal cruelty, records show. After finding probable cause in a civil hearing Wednesday, Berkeley County Magistrate Joan V. Bragg ruled that the animals should remain in the custody of Animal Control officials.

Spade, 61, of 386 Gunpowder Lane, Inwood, W.Va., said Thursday she hopes to raise the bond money and still hopes to ultimately regain custody of the canines. She did not know if a hearing date for the misdemeanor charge had been set.

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