Case against Md. official in chat-room sting paused as he’s charged elsewhere

By Heather Rawlyk, The Capital
Posted April 07, 2012, at 4:57 p.m.

Anne Arundel County prosecutors have paused their case against the former chief deputy clerk of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, who is accused of sending sexually explicit Web links to a detective posing as an underage girl, until he is tried for similar charges in Caroline County, where he was once state’s attorney.

Last week, prosecutors placed the case of Robert John Greenleaf, 57, of Cambridge, on an inactive docket in District Court in Annapolis.

Kristin Fleckenstein, a spokeswoman for the county State’s Attorney’s Office, said this was done so prosecutors in Caroline County could move forward with their similar, separate case.

In Anne Arundel, Greenleaf is charged with one count of displaying obscene material to a minor from his office at the state’s second highest court in Annapolis in December 2010.

Caroline County law enforcement have also charged Greenleaf with displaying obscene material to a minor and two counts of sexual solicitation of a minor from his second home in Henderson, said Caroline County State’s Attorney Jonathan Newell, who defeated Greenleaf in the 2002 general election.

According to court documents, Greenleaf allegedly sent undercover law enforcement, who was posing as an underage girl, sexually explicit material over the computer at his second home on Wolf Road in Henderson. Greenleaf is also accused of soliciting sexual activities from an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl twice from that Henderson home between March 2008 and January 2012.

Greenleaf has been released on personal recognizance pending the outcome of the case.

A motions hearing is scheduled in the Circuit Court for Caroline County for April 19, where Greenleaf’s attorney, Stephanie Shipley will ask for the case to be dismissed. She said there were issues with the legality of the charges and the warrant that was issued, all of which she will address further in court.

A jury trial is scheduled for May 11.

Anne Arundel prosecutors will move forward if there is a verdict on the Caroline County charges, Fleckenstein said.

Greenleaf was employed as chief deputy clerk of the court at the time of the alleged conversation Dec. 12, 2010 at the courthouse at 361 Rowe Blvd. in Annapolis. He left the position last spring, according to a Maryland courts spokeswoman. She would not say if he was terminated or resigned, citing a personnel matter.

County prosecutors say Greenleaf had a chat room conversation that led to instant messaging with an undercover Baltimore police officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. During the conversation, Greenleaf directed the officer to “extremely inappropriate websites,” Fleckenstein told The Capital last fall.

The information filed in Anne Arundel County says the content was made up of “an obscene description and depiction of illicit sex.”

The officer, who was working with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, notified the county State’s Attorney’s Office, which charged Greenleaf. He faces one year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted of one count display of obscene material to a minor.

Electronic court records show Greenleaf was served a court summons on Sept. 23, but was not arrested.

Greenleaf was appointed as Caroline County state’s attorney in 2000. He secured the Democratic nomination and ran for election for that position in November 2002, but lost to Newell, a Republican.

Greenleaf was one of 29 lawyers and judges who applied to fill the vacancy on the Court of Special Appeals left by Judge James A. Kenney’s mandatory retirement in 2007. That position was filled in early 2008 by Robert A. Zarnoch.

© 2012 The Capital (Annapolis, Md.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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