Baltimore Sun

Abuse allegation­s against Sheriff ’s Office sergeant ‘festered’ while case stayed closed, sources say

- By Dan Belson

The Anne Arundel County Sheriff’s Office’s command staff knew of a domestic violence accusation involving Sheriff ’s Sgt. Matthew Beall and another employee soon after the alleged incident two weeks ago but did not inform county police, delaying the investigat­ion by several days, four law enforcemen­t sources familiar with the matter said.

On the evening of July 11, Anne Arundel County Police were called to the parking lot of Marley Station Mall after a 911 caller reported he had seen a man throwing a woman to the ground. A county police officer spoke with Beall, who was outside the mall and said he was going to the gym, and stated he had not been there with a woman, police wrote in charging papers. With no victim present, and because Beall didn’t match the caller’s descriptio­n, the officer let Beall go that night and closed the case without applying for charges.

The following morning, command staff met with a lower-ranking deputy in the sheriff ’s office who reported what the alleged victim, another sheriff’s office employee, told her about the incident, according to the sources, who asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliatio­n.

Sheriff ’s Col. Francis Tewey, second in command to Sheriff Jim Fredericks, acknowledg­ed in an interview last Monday that command staff knew of the allegation­s made against Beall, but he said the agency’s role was strictly administra­tive, and they left the criminal investigat­ion of the matter up to the county police.

The sources said assault allegation­s against Beall “festered” in the sheriff ’s office July 12 and 13, while the command staff told some deputies that Capt. Brian Andre, Beall’s superior, would investigat­e the alleged matter between Beall and the other employee internally, and to back away from the case. Deputies were also told not to speak with the victim so as to not affect the investigat­ion, the sources said.

As a result, the case languished until a sheriff ’s deputy passed along informatio­n to Anne Arundel County Police on July 13, which ultimately led to Beall’s arrest and suspension early July 15.

Tewey had previously told The Capital that the agency had not heard about the allegation­s against Beall until the evening of July 14, when county police filed criminal charges in the days-old case. He said last Monday that he was only referring to the criminal charges being filed. He declined to speak on specifics of the administra­tive handling of the incident, saying it was a personnel matter.

A memorandum of understand­ing between the agencies states that Anne Arundel County Police hold responsibi­lity for criminal investigat­ions.

After the sheriff ’s deputy forwarded the victim’s informatio­n to Anne Arundel County Police on July 13, investigat­ors reopened the case and ultimately arrested Beall on a misdemeano­r assault charge early July 15. Police also learned of a separate incident in June in which the woman said Beall had assaulted her at a clubhouse in Glen Burnie. In that case, police filed second-degree assault and robbery charges against Beall.

Beall was not suspended by the sheriff ’s office until his arrest the morning of July 15. His service weapon and employee keycards were taken from him as part of the suspension.

Declining to speak directly about Beall’s suspension, calling it a personnel matter, Tewey said deputies are immediatel­y suspended when they are arrested on criminal charges, but can be suspended on a case-by-case basis for a “myriad of other reasons” when a personnel matter arises.

Beall is being represente­d by defense attorney Peter O’Neill in both cases. Beall is scheduled for a district court trial date in September for the incident at the mall and a preliminar­y hearing date in August for the June incident at the clubhouse.

Stating that he was unable to speak further on the case, O’Neill said Beall maintains his innocence, and looks forward to a trial.

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