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Women Accuse Anne Arundel's Leopold of Inappropriate Behavior

Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold says allegations against him
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold says allegations against him "have nothing to do with my job performance." (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
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A few days later, she said, Leopold called her home number and left a message with her son, who was 13 at the time. The son, Jason Clarke, 20, recalled the conversation as being short. "He just asked for my mom, never mentioned a reason why he was calling," he said. "All he would say is, 'Well, tell her I called.' "

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The next morning, before she arrived at work at 9 a.m., Leopold had called her office repeatedly within the span of half an hour, Owens, 45, said. "By the time I walked in, it had gotten to the point where the people in my office were asking me, 'Who is this guy?' "

Owens told her boss, Sharon Slotterback, what was happening and had Slotterback sit in her office while she called Leopold on speakerphone.

"I told him not to call anymore," Owens said. "He said, 'I just thought we could go to lunch.' And it went like that for a while. I'd say no, and he'd insist, until I said: 'Don't contact me unless there's some issue with your constituents. And if that's the case, come to my office if you need to talk.' "

Owens has since retired from the cable company. Slotterback, who works for a different company, confirmed that Owens went to her with concerns. "She was creeped out by him," Slotterback said. "She never filed a formal complaint, because it stopped after a while."

Owens said she has no connection to any political adversary of Leopold's. She said she is an active Republican who has volunteered for the state party.

In the past month, two other women have accused Leopold of improper behavior. Marvinese Harris, a state employee, said Leopold asked her for a date repeatedly during an encounter at the county building cafeteria April 30. She filed a complaint with the state Department of Human Resources, which Leopold said was dismissed.

State officials would not comment on the complaint. Harris, who is African American, also complained to the NAACP, which has asked the state prosecutor to investigate Leopold.

Two weeks ago, Karla Hamner, who once worked as Leopold's county spokeswoman, filed a complaint with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She said Leopold once grabbed her by the arms in his office and yelled at her about her hair.

The allegations are the latest episodes in which Leopold's sexual behavior has been questioned. On Jan. 30, an anonymous caller to Anne Arundel County's 911 center complained that people were having sex in a car in the parking lot of a shopping mall in Annapolis. The caller directed officers to Leopold's county car. Police determined the report to be "unfounded," but Leopold has not said what he was doing in the car.

Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.

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