Frederick’s aldermen will decide whether the city should move forward with an investigation into allegations against colleague Roger Wilson after a letter to Mayor Michael O’Connor from Wilson’s attorney outlined several possible alternatives for looking into the matter.

In the letter Thursday, Wilson’s attorney, Timothy F. Maloney, said anyone with a complaint could appeal to several independent agencies to address the matter.

Like many Maryland municipalities, the city has no laws to deal with claims of sexual harassment by city officials or employees, the letter said. But the claims are handled under state and federal law, including the Maryland Civil Rights Commission and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In a statement Thursday evening, O’Connor said he would consult with the aldermen to see if there is still interest in an investigation.

“I will abide by the decision of the Aldermen because Alderman Wilson has announced his candidacy for mayor, and it is important that everyone understands that any decision made regarding this matter moving forward is not politically motivated,” the statement reads.

Wilson has been accused by several women of inappropriate interactions, The News-Post has independently confirmed. Alderman Ben MacShane made the allegations in a late-December Facebook post.

The statement said O’Connor didn’t know Thursday where the aldermen stood on an investigation.

The board had a meeting Thursday evening but did not discuss the situation.

Maloney’s letter also criticized O’Connor for weighing in on the accusations within the Facebook statement.

O’Connor was “obviously complicit” in MacShane’s “slanderous” post, in an effort to attack an opponent in the mayor’s race, Maloney’s letter said.

“This was made clear when you immediately used city resources to proclaim the unspecified complaints to be ‘very serious,’ and pronounced judgements concerning these vague allegations in a public forum,” the letter to the mayor said. “Additionally, on the City website, you invited citizens to come forward with complaints concerning your opponent.”

Hours after MacShane’s Dec. 26 post, O’Connor released a statement on the city’s website noting the seriousness of the allegations and saying they “do not keep the values and standards of The City of Frederick.”

In a Dec. 31 statement, O’Connor said his response was only meant to assure the public that he was aware of the claims and they would be addressed.

He also announced that the city would hire an outside firm to do an independent investigation.

Maloney’s letter further criticizes the mayor for using public resources and authority to investigate a political opponent.

“Such behavior is commonplace in undemocratic nations, but it has never occurred in Maryland, and never occurred in our community. It has no place in Frederick City government,” the letter said.

Wilson said Thursday evening that he’s not aware of any formal complaints or charges against him. He emphasized the letter’s message is that there are ways for someone with a grievance to pursue it.

Aldermen, including Wilson and MacShane, had initially supported an outside investigation, but Wilson later objected to a “taxpayer-funded witch hunt” and said an investigation should include looking into MacShane and O’Connor’s actions.

Wilson introduced legislation Thursday that would update several sections of the county’s ethics code, including proposals that would allow people to submit a complaint of sexual harassment against officials or various others to the city’s ethics commission for review and investigation.

The changes would also prohibit officials or employees from using the prestige of their office or position for private gain, or using an official or personal social media platform to make public accusations against any city employee, “agent, committee or board member, officer, or elected official.”

The ethics commission could dismiss a complaint if it decides that an accusation doesn’t have enough evidence to support it.

If the report decides that a complaint was made in bad faith and “intended to cause harm to the subject of the violation,” the person who makes the complaint can be fined up to $1,000.

---

The online version of this article has been updated to indicate that The News-Post has independently confirmed that multiple women have made allegations against Roger Wilson.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(49) comments

jth7100

Bosco is right, special needs people should be heard too.

phydeaux994

This is exactly why I objected to the Democrats attack on Kavanaugh. I don’t know what happened, but if there is not one iota of substantiated evidence of guilt then I question the motives of the accuser.

NewMarketParent

@phydeaux994

This is why I am in favor of an investigation. This will give a hopefully impartial look into the allegations and if there is no evidence to support them, then the proper corrective action can be taken.

An investigation into Kavanaugh was blocked at every level. Subpoenas were ignored and only one side was allowed to tell the story while any supporting evidence was basically denied. There are probably a million other people both more qualified and better tempered to be a SC judge. There was a specific reason why he was chosen and his existing debt paid off.

bosco

This must be a real conundrum for the Democrats who espoused the theory that all women must be believed until the accused is one of their own.

So far, it sounds like the "evidence" is all hearsay.

pdl603

Mssrs. Fairfax (VA) and Ellison (MN) for example.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@stimpy

OMG..,,,maybe you didn’t eat as much lead paint as I thought, you realize you had a very coherent thought right? Right?

There is no evidence to believe or not believe, keep it up, I’m proud of you!

Unless you are saying YOU believe the “hearsay”, if so then we all know how much lead paint you ate!

Awteam2021

Who’s the victim? Who was assaulted? You need someone to claim they were harassed and it better be more then complementing someone on their dress.

KellyAlzan

I too objected to cavanaugh. I believe the accusations against Brett are true. But. There was no evidence, no witnesses, nothing. I knew from the beginning it was a dog and pony show.

mrnatural1

phy -- I'm not one to automatically believe 100% of what every alleged victim claims. As you said, sometimes there are ulterior motives:

* Political

* Financial

* Personal (payback, revenge, etc)

That said, I suspect the majority of their allegations are true (or mostly true). The nature of the complaints means that there will often be little/no solid evidence. It is often "he said, she said", and we are left with whose story is more believable -- contemporary confirmation, etc.

Some aspects of the Kavanaugh hearing did come across as an attack -- as do many hearings for SCOTUS nominees.

When it comes to Ms. Ford's testimony though, she was believable. If her motivations were less than honest (political) -- what would be the point of burying Kavanaugh? The president would have just nominated another judge who is equally -- or more -- conservative. It's not as if Elizabeth Warren was next in line.

So there would be absolutely no point in traveling to D.C.; testifying before the senate -- half of whom were/are hostile -- and being ripped to shreds, unless what she said was true.

To watch as Kavanaugh -- her rapist -- was confirmed to sit on the highest court in the land must have been devastating.

Water under the bridge now, but Ms. Ford deserves our respect for being so brave.

TomWheatley

If ordinary citizen Michael wrote on FB about his ordinary neighbor citizen Roger, it would land in civil court.

If ordinary employee Michael wrote on FB about his ordinary co-worker Roger, it would be a trip to HR and also land in civil court.

Now, substitute Alderman in the above and ask yourself why this is not in civil court (yet).

KellyAlzan

If Wilson were to take civil action - I suspect it would be after the election

TomWheatley

Agreed.

HappySeller2014

I want more information regarding the Zoom call. Were any gender & intimacy discussions held? What is your investigation into this Zoom call telling us, FNP? Who were the participants? What was discussed? How long was the discussion? Anyone have connectivity issues?

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Happy

The FNP doesn't do investigative journalism .....you realize right?

threecents

I think everyone - except maybe the lawyer - has said they want an investigation, so why not wait until the investigation before drawing conclusions? And if there is no investigation and no actual accusations, then why bother drawing any conclusions?

HappySeller2014

I do NOT want an investigation. I want the parties to fight this out in circuit court civil proceedings while NOT spending a single taxpayer's dime.

TomWheatley

No laws at the City level so what would the end result be of a local investigation? Might as well skip over the City and work at the State level where laws and penalties exist.

pdl603

It should not move forward because the man is a......democrat. It doesn’t matter what they do. One set of rules for democrats and another for the rest of us.

threecents

Can you not?

phydeaux994

I’m a Republican piddle and I haven’t noticed that. What are the differences?

pdl603

Liar liar pants on fire dawg dew.

bosco

It's tough to notice much when your head is in the sand or somewhere else where the sun don't shine. [lol]

Piedmontgardener

Tim Maloney will tie them in knots. Very astute choice for counsel.

Mgastley

Article says several women have accused Wilson, but, that is only according to one Alderman. I am unaware of anyone actually coming forward. Very much seems to assume that these claims have actually been made.

HappySeller2014

Very observant. Everything based upon what ONE alderman has heard, evidently alongside (or through) his wife.

Where are all these multiple accusers? Story broke Devember 26th, 2020. Today is January 22nd, 2021. Sure seems weird that, in the court of public opinion, someone can accuse someone of dastadly deeds, yet still not be able to provide any evidence almost four weeks later.

FNP, are you investigating???

KellyAlzan

I emailed ryan marshal last week about his bush league choice of words. I emailed head editor gordie today about this, too.

Let’s say Wilson applies to work for my business. I don’t know him so I google his name, as many prospective employers do. I find these news stories and see these write ups and accusations. I’m not aware of Macshames FB posts. All I know is what I see in the FNP stories. Doesn’t look good. Several women. So I decide to decline Wilson for employment.

NBC always states, when reporting about accusations “We ave confirmed”, or, “we have not confirmed”.

At this point, no one knows if such women accusers even exist. For all we know, MacSHAME fabricated everything. It happens.

I can assure you, Wilson’s atty is keeping each and every FNP article in a file. The FNP needs to make it clear in each and every news story regarding Wilson and macshame’s allegations that, so far, there are no known accusers, and that the allegations are solely from MacSHAME.

KellyAlzan

Remember the teens from Kentucky that came to DC? The media wasn’t careful with their words. Washington post was sued.

PurplePickles aka L&M

Yeah I remember that.......they did settle out of court for millions of dollars so....

The Washington Post and Nick Sandmann settle lawsuit out of court

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/the-washington-post-and-nick-sandmann-settle-lawsuit-out-of-court/ar-BB179ttA

petersamuel

Not just 'no evidence.' No specific allegatioons, no accusers, no account of any incident. No description of what supposedly occurred, when it occurred or to whom, or in what context? Did the accusers tell friends or colleagues immediately afterwards. That is often the best evidence. If the accusers told no one and kept it to themselves, and much time has gone by, then we likely have a case of the offense growing in the mind of the victim as they repeatedly rethink it. A friendly compliment about looks can evolve in the mind into aggressive propositioning.

KellyAlzan

About 4 years ago I made a comment to a business associate. My comment was interned as me mocking myself. Well, the business associate took my comment as me directing it at him, and took great offense. Wasn’t at all my intentions. I tried to explain, and he wouldn’t hear it. People today are very sensitive and get bent out of shape at the slightest things.

KellyAlzan

I emailed Gordie, the editor today, and scolded him for allowing the story to be written that way

FrederickFan

Seems the city has handled this as badly as possible. There are places for people to file claims of harassment but it is not with elected officials.

HappySeller2014

Not the city. O'Connor and McShane handled this ridiculously and as badly as possible.

Using city website to blast uncertains and show displeasure against political opponent from same party. Requesting folks come forward. Posting on Facebook day after Christmas. ZOOM meeting of the aggrieved. Condemnation and conviction in a public forum prior to facts being released. Ominous silence of accusers. Relationship and sex therapist involvement.

I hope O'Connor and McShame both have good civil lawyers. I bet you Wilson has lawyers lining up down the block from Frederick City Hall hoping to take on a civil case on his behalf.

islandcuban

A modern-day "virtual lynching" on social media. Coupled with the events of January 6th , the optics here are troubling

PurplePickles aka L&M

Oh yeah very troubling indeed, it's hard to see it any other way than a modern-day "virtual lynching" on social media. White privilege is hard to see past I'll admit that but really what other way did MacShame and O' Connor think this was going to look?

Blind and tone deaf doesn't even begin to describe the stupidity of these two.

PurplePickles aka L&M

Blind and tone deaf doesn't even begin to describe the racism of these two.

HappySeller2014

I think O'Connor and McShane are in BIG trouble.

It seems Wilson has a VERY GOOD lawyer. And O'Connor and McShane now slithering back into their holes.

There should not be a Frederick City taxpayer funded investigation here. This whole debacle should be taken up in a civil matters court between the personal lawyers of Wilson and McShame (and O'Connor).

And it is already very clear who will win their case in court, especially after McShane's wife takes the stand and testifys under oath. Congratulations Wilson.

Many weeks later, I am still waiting for the accusers to step forward. And any proof to their claims. Not saying they are or are not legit, but this ominous silence is deafening.

islandcuban

Wow ! Well said indeed

Thanks for these powerful words

KellyAlzan

Wilson and MacSHAME both of them are rookie politicians as well as bush league politicians. Wilson's lawyer has fired off the warning shots.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]Happy! I'm wondering if 1) they exist, 2) if so, are afraid of coming forward (as many victims of sexual abuse are), or 3) McShane repeated a false story, and the "victims" are afraid of being sued for slander. Whether it is an internal or external investigation, it will still require money...taxpayer money. There is an opportunity cost for the internal investigation in that the investigation takes staff away from tasks that need to be done. Let it be external, and a final public report produced. God help McShane and O'Connor if they made this up. Any judgement against either of them should come out of their pocket(s), not the taxpayers.

HappySeller2014

Should NOT require taxpayer money. Wilson, O'Conner and McShame happen to be alderman and mayor.

Otherwise, they just like you and me, and put on their big boy pants just like you and I every day. If someone defames me, I can take them to circuit court and file civil claims. But I cannot access taxpayer dollars for my effort.

Neither should these three. This is a civil matter. Any judgements/fines/penalties must be paid out of their own personal pockets.

Period.

KellyAlzan

“Should”?

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

I am of the opinion that there should be an investigation. If there is one credible accusation, that is enough. An impartial investigation is the only fair way to get to the bottom of this. Until there is proof, there is only this allegation that may hang over Mr. Wilson's head until he is exonerated. If there is proof, then let the record show that we believed the accuser and followed up. Accusations should not be the burden of proof to show impropriety, but evidence.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

Agreed....

islandcuban

Fight back, Roger !!

KellyAlzan

FNP Wrote:

“Wilson has been accused by several women of inappropriate interactions. Alderman Ben MacShane made the allegations in a late-December Facebook post.”

The part about several women accusing Wilson has not been verified by the FNP. Thus, the FNP is at risk for slander and libel. MacSHAME May say that women have accused, but that doesn’t mean any ever did.

The writer and the FNP are going to be sued

KellyAlzan

The correct wording would be “MacSHAME alleges......”

KellyAlzan

Or “MacSHAME claims.....”

C.D.Reid

So, the writer and the FNP are going to be sued, huh? Care to put a little wager on that Pb?

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