Lusby manager found not guilty of sex assault charges
35-year-old ‘happy this is behind’ him
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.”