Former firefighter sues to get job back, saying he resigned 'under duress'


A former Anne Arundel County firefighter sued yesterday to get his job back, claiming that he resigned last May only because he was "under duress in connection with a disciplinary hearing."

William K. Roberts Jr. of the 3900 block of River Club Drive, Edgewater, claimed in the suit filed in Anne Arundel Circuit Court that he tried to rescind his resignation two days after he filed the letter May 26, but that C. Gary Rogers, the Fire Department's deputy chief for administration, told him it was too late.

The suit says Mr. Roberts, who had 18 1/2 years of service, resigned in the face of a disciplinary hearing scheduled as a result of criminal charges filed against him.

The suit does not specify the charges, but Annapolis District Court records show Mr. Roberts was charged by county police with two counts of telephone harassment because of repeated calls he allegedly made in 1992 to the South Side Salon, an Edgewater beauty shop.

A phone tap placed by police traced several calls Mr. Roberts allegedly made to a beauty shop employee between Feb. 25 and March 9, 1992, and again between March 27 and April 10, 1992, court records say.

Court records show the charges were placed on the inactive docket by the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office.

That usually means they will be dismissed after a year if there are no additional complaints. But the record shows that the case was later scheduled to be tried on Aug. 16.

Assistant State's Attorney Eileen A. Riley said similar cases likely are reset for trial because the defendant either continued to harass the victim, failed to adhere to conditions placed on him or was the focus of additional complaints.

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