An Anne Arundel County police officer has been acquitted of sex offense and assault charges but remains on administrative duty pending the outcome of the department's internal affairs investigation.
Karl T. Strohminger, a two-year veteran assigned to the Northern District, was charged in a summons with a fourth-degree sex offense and assault and battery. A 24-year-old woman he met through a personal ad claimed he handcuffed her and tried to have sex with her.
Officer Strohminger was found not guilty of all charges Monday in Glen Burnie District Court.
The woman claimed that at about 11:30 p.m. June 8, she arrived at Officer Strohminger's home in the 200 block of Plymouth Lane. She alleged that she put her 5-month-old baby in a crib and that Officer Strohminger then grabbed her by the hair, pushed her to the floor, handcuffed her and only let her go after she screamed, according to District Court charging documents.
The two had met six days earlier through a personal ad, gone out once and had consensual sex, according to the documents.
T. Joseph Touhey, the officer's lawyer, said testimony showed the woman made inconsistent statements when she reported the incident, telling state police she was handcuffed to a bed, when there was no bed in the room. She also recanted a statement that Officer Strohminger tried to have sex.
Officer Strohminger testified that he sent the woman out of his house after she put her baby in the crib, put on his handcuffs and said, "You aren't going to hurt me are you?"
"The judge found that weighing all the relevant factors, there was no reason to believe her story over his to the extent that he could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," Mr. Touhey said.
Marie-Elise Hill, a deputy state's attorney from Talbot County brought in at the request of Anne Arundel State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, prosecuted the case.
Officer Randy Bell, police spokesman, yesterday said the verdict will not affect the department's internal investigation.