Lusby man­ager found not guilty of sex as­sault charges

35-year-old ‘happy this is be­hind’ him

The Calvert Recorder - - News - By DANDAN ZOU [email protected]­ Twit­ter: @CalRecDANDAN

A Calvert judge found a Lusby man not guilty of two sex­ual as­sault charges Mon­day af­ter a trial where two sides told con­flict­ing sto­ries of two Septem­ber in­ci­dents of al­leged in­ap­pro­pri­ate touch­ing.

Iden­ti­fied as a con­tracted man­ager in food ser­vices at Calvert Cliffs Nu­clear Power Plant in court pa­pers, Richard Glenn Burns, 35, was ac­quit­ted on charges of sec­ond-de­gree as­sault and fourth-de­gree sex­ual of­fense, both mis­de­meanors. Burns no longer works at the power plant but is em­ployed some­where else.

“We went to court. I told the truth that I did not do it,” Burns said by phone Mon­day. “I’m just happy. I’m happy this is be­hind me.”

Burns’ wife, Sarah Aso­mugha-Burns, said her hus­band was vil­i­fied and ma­ligned based on al­le­ga­tions alone. While her hus­band was found not guilty of any wrong­do­ing, she said the dam­age has al­ready been done.

“My hus­band is to­tally in­no­cent of all charges,” she said, re­fer­ring to the not-guilty ver­dict. “It means my kids don’t have to worry about their fa­ther be­ing ref­er­enced as a crim­i­nal.”

Mon­tra Mar­tin, as­sis­tant state’s at­tor­ney who pros­e­cuted the case, ar­gued in court Mon­day that the gov­ern­ment has put forth ev­i­dence to show beyond a rea­son­able doubt that Burns touched the vic­tim in an in­ap­pro­pri­ate man­ner.

She called the state’s wit­ness Brit­tany Stampfer, who tes­ti­fied that Burns pulled her pants down to her knees four times on Sept. 27 in his closed of­fice at the power plant. She said his grip had let loose on the fifth time and she ran out of his of­fice. Prior to the in­ci­dent, Stampfer said Burns grabbed her but­tocks on Sept. 18 in a walk-in fridge.

Burns de­nied the al­le­ga­tions and tes­ti­fied in court that none of the in­ci­dents de­scribed by Stampfer hap­pened.

“I didn’t touch her at all,” he said. “And that’s the 100 per­cent truth.”

As Stampfer’s di­rect su­per­vi­sor, Burns said Stampfer came into his of­fice on Sept. 27 and dur­ing the con­ver­sa­tion he rep­ri­manded her about her work ethic. But he said he ended the con­ver­sa­tion on a pos­i­tive note. While she was in his of­fice, Burns said an­other co­worker came in. Then she walked out of his of­fice laugh­ing, he said, and the other em­ployee left be­hind her.

Dur­ing the tes­ti­monies, the two sides also told dif­fer­ent ac­counts of a ride that Stampfer gave Burns. Burns said Stamp- fer gave him a ride af­ter his car broke down on Sept. 18, which would be the day when the first in­ci­dent al­legedly took place, and again on Sept. 19, the day af­ter.

Stampfer, how­ever, said she did give Burns a ride home but that hap­pened be­fore the Sept. 18 in­ci­dent, though she didn’t re­mem­ber which date it was.

“In a case like this, we are left with lit­tle con­crete phys­i­cal ev­i­dence,” Burns’ lawyer Joshua Tarr said in court Mon­day. “We have sev­eral con­flict­ing sto­ries, well, that may rise to the level of pre­pon­der­ance of ev­i­dence in a gen­er­ous set­ting. I’m not sure that rises to the level of clear and con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence, much less to be able to say beyond a rea­son­able doubt what did oc­cur on Sept. 27 or Sept. 18.”

Af­ter hear­ing both sides, District Judge Michelle Saun­ders said she couldn’t find Burns guilty beyond a rea­son­able doubt.

“That’s not to say I think some­one sat up here and lied,” Saun­ders said be­fore hand­ing down the not-guilty ver­dict.

Stampfer main­tains that she was telling the truth. She has since quit her job at the power plant and is work­ing some­where else.

“Am I dis­ap­pointed? I am. It both­ers me that he had got­ten away with this. … And I’m a firm be­liever of if it hap­pens once, it will hap­pen again,” she said by phone Wed­nes­day. “But I know I’ve done every­thing I could to make sure that it doesn’t hap­pen again. The truth will come out one day.”

Tarr said by phone Mon­day that jus­tice was served.

“Mr. Burns has main­tained his in­no­cence since the day the al­le­ga­tions were made,” he said. “To­day in court, he was proven cor­rect and found to have done noth­ing wrong.”

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