Police department quietly files charges against veteran officer

A 25-year veteran Baltimore City Police officer has been charged with sexually assaulting a fellow officer in front of a supervisor.

Derrick Layton, who is currently assigned to the Northwestern District, faces charges of second-degree assault, fourth-degree sexual assault, and "committing a wrongful act in the performance of his duties," according to court documents. Layton was previously a detective in the Southeastern District, online court records indicate. His most recent cases-burglaries-were filed on Aug. 27.

The criminal information, quietly filed in Circuit Court on Aug. 8, contains few details other than the alleged incident date of Jan. 22, 2013 and a list of witnesses and the complainant, a female police officer. But Layton's lawyer, Warren Brown, says the charges are baseless and implausible.

"It's the dumbest thing I've ever seen," Brown says by phone from his office. "He supposedly fondled one of his colleagues right in front of his lieutenant in the office. She's in uniform with a [bulletproof] vest. What are you gonna feel through a vest?"

A Southeastern District lieutenant is listed in the information, plus a Western District sergeant. There are two detectives whose assignments are listed as EEOC-Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. City Paper received an anonymous tip that the case had been filed. Baltimore police spokesperson Lt. John Kowalczyk did not respond to an email asking about the case or the department's policy regarding press releases and mug shots of police accused of crimes.

In late August, a grand jury indicted Baltimore police officer Frederick Allen on charges of having sex with a minor. Police Commissioner Anthony Batts released a statement in that case, calling the officer's actions "shameful" and "a great disservice to the hard work of the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department."

In July, a Baltimore police officer was charged in the county with pulling a gun on her son. County police handed out a mug shot in that case, and Kowalczyk told reporters she had been suspended without pay.

In May, a Baltimore cop was charged with in connection with drug dealing and identity theft.

And in 2011 former Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld personally collected the badges of some of the more than 30 city cops who were being charged in a scam involving towing companies.

But the department had not given Layton's case any publicity.

Brown says his client has had no internal discipline issues with the department during his career, though he believes the accuser has "had some internal affairs things I'm looking into."

Brown attacks the accuser's character. "As much foreplay that goes on between police officers," he says, "she's either particularly sensitive or something is not right with her."