CHEVERLY, MD (WUSA9) - The Town of Cheverly's elected leaders have adopted a policy of not commenting on a series of lawsuits alleging sexual assault, workplace retaliation, and racial profiling that have infected the town's police department for nearly a decade.
Meanwhile, a state delegate representing the Cheverly area is suggesting an independent investigation.
"These allegations are concerning and there should be a full investigation," wrote Delegate Diana Fennell. She declined to be interviewed further by WUSA9.
WUSA9 reported on the allegations May 31 including a claim by Donna Schmidt, the wife of a former officer, that police chief Harry "Buddy" Robshaw III sexually assaulted her at a police department Christmas party in 2008. At least four former officers, including Schmidt's husband, have filed suits against Robshaw and the town saying they were fired in retaliation for supporting Donna Schmidt's claims.
A lawsuit filed by the Schmidts is scheduled for a federal jury trial in October. Lawyers for the town are seeking to have another suit filed by fired officers dismissed by a federal court judge later this month.
Robshaw said he cannot comment on WUSA9's reporting because of the ongoing litigation. In an email to WUSA9 Thursday, he wrote: "Even though I disagree vehemently as to much of what was printed, the Town's lawyers request that I make no statement."
In a sworn deposition given in one case, Robshaw has denied the allegations and said the officers are lying.
Newly elected Cheverly Town Councilmember Julian Ivey said he also could not comment on the lawsuits specifically. However, Ivey pointed out that Robshaw has called for race and bias training at the police department.
"I support the chief's call for racial and implicit bias training for all the officers in the police department," said Ivey, who made police accountability a top priority in his campaign for town council.
Robshaw was commended for doing a good job in reducing crime by Mayor Mike Callahan at a winter town council meeting.
In a telephone conversation May 25, Callahan said Robshaw has the support of the town council and that the litigation process will reveal whether or not any of the claims against Robshaw are true.
The credibility of some of the former officers suing the department will be an issue. Maryland Court of Special Appeals judges who reviewed terminations of two officers found the firings were justified. Former police officer Frank Schmidt was terminated for failing to complete an improvement plan and using leave without permission. Former police corporal Earl Stone was fired for falsifying records showing he was on patrol when a GPS monitoring device found him outside town limits or spending long periods at a convenience store parking lot.
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