Deputy Charles McMichael
PITTSVILLE -- Maryland State Police arrested a Wicomico County Sheriff's Office deputy Friday accused of sexually molesting two 10-year-old girls, Sheriff Mike Lewis said.
Deputy 1st Class Charles McMichael, 35, of Salis-bury, was waiting to pick up his child outside Pittsville Elementary and Middle School Friday afternoon when police seized him, Lewis said.
"We are terribly disappointed and are shocked and certainly saddened when it involves one of our own," said Lewis of the 15-month deputy of the agency.
McMichael, who faces charges of child abuse and sex offenses, has been suspended without pay, Lewis said.
The Pittsville school was also in the news Friday following the arrest this week of a Salisbury University student interning there as a teaching assistant.
Jenna Herrmann, 23, of Salisbury is accused of having sexual relations with one of the school's 14-year-old students.
McMichael is the second area officer to be accused of sex-related offenses in six months. Former Salisbury Police Department patrolman Tracy Ross Sparpaglione, 27, faces four felony charges including second-degree rape and first-degree burglary. The charges stem from an incident while on duty during Memorial Day weekend.
Allegations against McMichael first surfaced 11 p.m. Thursday, Lewis said. His agency contacted the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, which partnered with the Child Advocacy Center in Wicomico County.
In less than 24 hours, "clearly sufficient evidence" emerged to charge McMichael, said Lewis, declining to comment about the evidence.
McMichael is also a Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 111 spokesman. He had participated in on-going negotiations with the Wicomico County Council and deputies about a future collective bargaining agreement.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, McMichael was being transported to the District Court Commissioner to have his bail, now undetermined, set, Lewis said.
"We moved swiftly on this as soon as the information came to our attention," Lewis said. "We did what we had to do."
The Sheriff's Office will now begin its own internal investigation of McMichael, as the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office mounts its criminal case.
The investigation would be the third known internal query in three months for the agency, which recently has been criticized publicly for excessive force.
The owner of the Perry & Gate's Barber Shop on West Road, James Gates, filed a complaint that the Sheriff's Office conducted an illegal search of his business earlier this month.
Deputies conducting a sting operation stormed his shop when a person suspected of illegal drug activity entered the building. Gates contends his customers, including several elderly and disabled clients, were frightened when deputies ordered them to the floor.
And after Sept. 9, the agency investigated an off-duty deputy involved in a fight with a customer of the Country Side Market and Deli on Nanticoke Road.
The report concluded Deputy Evan Avnet acted appropriately. He said he thought Tommy Jones, a mentally-challenged man, attempted to rob the store with a retractable Buck knife. But a store cashier, Brandey Werkheiser, says she never saw the blade.
http://www.dailytimesonline.com/apps/pb ... 10324/1002