School Board Member Accused of Assault in Debt Dispute

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A former Montgomery County Council candidate has filed a complaint alleging that Montgomery school board member Stephen N. Abrams grabbed his throat and slammed his head against a wall last week in a dispute over campaign debt.

The complaint by Adol T. Owen-Williams II, 42, filed Wednesday with a county District Court commissioner, charges Abrams with second-degree assault and attempt to extort money through an accusation, which is a misdemeanor.

But whether the matter will land in court remains to be seen.

Owen-Williams, who met with prosecutors from the Montgomery state's attorney's office yesterday, said he'd be willing to drop his complaint if Abrams agreed to attend anger management courses.

Abrams would not comment on the allegations. Deputy State's Attorney Katherine Winfree also declined to comment.

Owen-Williams said he gave up his place as a Republican candidate on the November ballot under pressure from Abrams, who represents the Rockville-Potomac area on the school board and is a former Rockville City Council member.

Abrams wanted to run for an at-large seat on the council after losing his bid for the Republican nomination for state comptroller in the September primary. But to do so, he needed a candidate to step aside.

In exchange for Owen-Williams giving up his spot, Abrams agreed to take care of the $5,000 in expenses the council candidate had incurred during his primary campaign, Owen-Williams said. Abrams subsequently lost the council race.

On Nov. 13, after the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee met to elect new officers at it headquarters in Rockville, Owen-Williams said yesterday that he followed Abrams, 63, down a stairwell to ask him about the money.

"When I brought it up to him -- at first, he was very condescending, telling me . . . , 'Listen, son, you don't have to bring that up again,' " Owen-Williams said. "I told him, 'Don't call me "son." ' "

But he said Abrams continued.

"He said, 'Listen, boy,' and he charged up the stairs towards me," he said. "He grabbed me by the neck and pushed my head against the wall. He tried to put his elbow against my neck, and I said three times, 'Don't you ever put your hands on me.' "

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