A civilian employee at the Anne Arundel County Sheriff's Office was charged Wednesday with leaking sealed indictments to 10 alleged members of a gang who were about to be arrested.
Chanel Holland, of Glen Burnie, a management aide hired in May 2004, was removed from the office after she was charged with obstructing justice and illegally accessing a computer. Anne Arundel County police say she accessed a secure database for the purpose of informing 10 people about charges against them before they were made public.
Sheriff Ron Bateman released a statement saying he would “let the criminal justice system control this employee’s destiny.” He said he had removed Holland from the agency pending disciplinary action.
“This disappoints me greatly, but I cannot tolerate a member of the criminal element working among the great men and women that make up this agency,” he wrote.
Holland’s arrest comes as Bateman is in the midst of a bid for a fourth term. He faces three contenders in the GOP primary: county police Lt. Jim Fredreicks, retired deputy sheriff Beth Smith and former federal law enforcement officer Damon Ostis. Early voting ends Thursday and primary election day is June 26.
The winner will face Democratic challenger James Williams, who’s running unopposed for his party’s nomination.
Police wrote in court records that 10 people charged under a sealed indictment with gang activity and drug distribution learned of their charges prior to their arrest.
The 10 were indicted June 8 and arrest warrants were issued with specific instructions to the Anne Arundel clerk of the court that the information would be limited to Maryland State Police and the county State’s Attorney’s Office.
June 11, the first business day after the sealed indictments were filed, police wrote the “defendants each knew they had pending criminal charges for their arrests.”
“Maryland State Police learned through investigation that a female named ‘Chanel’ who worked at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse provided the defendants information from the sealed indictments,” police wrote.
County police wrote in charging documents that Holland ran the names of the defendants through a secure judiciary database and made several phone calls to the 10 people.
“Chanel Holland was not a party to (the) investigation and, therefore, she had no legitimate law enforcement purpose to run the names searched,” charging documents read.
Holland was served an arrest warrant Wednesday and released on her own recognizance. No attorney is listed as representing her in court records and she could not be reached for comment.
Police wrote Holland’s alleged cooperation with the defendants threatened their investigation and could’ve allowed the suspects to form a plan to either escape or fight back against officers serving the warrants.
Bateman’s office has been plagued by problems that have come to light over the past two years.
A county auditor found his office failed to collect $111,000 in fees owed to the office and did not establish “adequate internal controls over receiving and safeguarding cash receipts.” Bateman said he welcomed the audit and would use its recommendations to improve the office.
Bateman also investigated Lawrence Scott, a top aide to Republican Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams, for months prior to his leaving in March to run Adams’ re-election campaign. The sheriff said he was investigating claims that Scott was being paid even though he was not showing up for work, and has referred to the results to an unnamed agency.
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As for Holland, the sheriff said his office “will continue to cooperate with investigators” and would not comment further Wednesday.