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Officers of Owl's Club answer assault allegations before liquor board

December 29, 2010|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Officers of the Hagerstown Owl's Club at 25 W. Antietam St. appeared before the Washington County liquor board Wednesday to answer allegations that two women were assaulted at the club during an incident in August.
Herald-Mail file photo


Officers of the Hagerstown Owl's Club at 25 W. Antietam St. appeared before the Washington County liquor board Wednesday to answer allegations that two women were assaulted at the club during an incident in August.

The hearing was scheduled after former Owl's Club member Linda Stevens complained to the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County earlier this month that she and a friend were pushed and threatened when they visited the club for drinks.

"They started pushing us," Stevens told the liquor board during her portion of the testimony. "They came to the back door. They even came out in the parking lot like they wanted to fight."

Clara Wetzel, who was working at the club on the night of the incident, said Stevens was being difficult by insisting on sitting at a table that was reserved for a birthday party later that night.

Wetzel said Stevens was asked to leave when she became belligerent and called Wetzel a derogatory name.

"I said, 'That's it, you're gone,'" Wetzel said of her decision to expel Stevens from the club. "She was cussing me and spitting in my face .... We sent her a letter saying she was barred."

Stevens, who was warned several times during the hearing to stop interrupting the testimony of Owl's Club witnesses, admitted that she called Wetzel a name.

Wetzel denied the assault allegations, but conceded that she put her hand on Stevens' shoulder to lead Stevens to the door.

Four other people associated with the Owl's Club testified that the club ran smoothly and rarely had problems with bad behavior.

Owl's Club members Dolly McCumbee and Bonnie Ragland told liquor officials that Stevens regularly makes an obscene gesture when they see each other. Stevens contested the accusations, saying Owl's members would fabricate a story to make her look bad.

Liquor board Chairman Robert L. Everhart said the maximum penalty that the Owl's Club could face is the loss of its liquor license and a $2,500 fine.

The three-member liquor board is required by law to render a decision within 30 days.

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