The Prince George's County Republican chairman urged people yesterday to vote for Democratic council member Anthony J. Cicoria, who was convicted on theft charges last week, in his County Council race, while four-year-old allegations of sexual molestation surfaced against the Republican nominee.

Doyle Niemann, who was defeated in the Democratic primary, joined Republican Chairman Richmond Davis in supporting Cicoria. They hope that such a tactic would force a special election in which other candidates could compete once Cicoria is suspended from office pending appeal.

The move was also a reaction to the last-minute write-in effort for Takoma Park Mayor Stephen J. Del Giudice that has been mounted by top Democratic leaders and backed by Cicoria. Write-in ballots will not be tabulated for several days, which means the winner may not be known until the weekend.

"I'm not asking for a vote for Cicoria, the individual," said Davis. "We're simply saying as a technical device, this is an alternative for voters if they're unhappy with the instructions of the Democratic Party bosses in Prince George's County, and unhappy with the Republican candidate."

Said Niemann, "I'm supporting the Democratic nominee, who is Tony Cicoria. I think people should pick their representative in an election."

J. Lee Ball Jr., the GOP candidate who has been disavowed by his own party, denied the allegations of sexual molestation involving a woman who has since died.

An arrest warrant issued in the case on Feb. 23, 1989, was never served. "The thing fell in the cracks," said Maj. James Ross, commander of the police department's Criminal Investigation Division. And because the woman is deceased, he said, "There's no way we can proceed on it. We no longer have a victim."

Del. Timothy Maloney (D-Prince George's), working a phone bank for Del Giudice, said voters in University Park and Chillum were "gangbusters for Del Giudice, but in Mount Rainier, Colmar Manor, Brentwood, there is tremendous voter confusion. One lady said she was voting for Bart Simpson."

There are 24,354 registered voters in the district: 17,753 Democrats, 4,276 Republicans and 2,325 independents.

Said Joseph Armstrong, a Hyattsville construction worker, "There is a very high air of confusion. Everyone I talk to, they don't know if they can vote for Cicoria or what will happen if they do."

After his conviction a week ago for stealing campaign funds and lying on his tax returns, Cicoria announced on Friday that he was withdrawing as a candidate, too late to take his name off the ballot.

No state or county write-in candidate has ever succeeded in Maryland. If Cicoria should be reelected, he would serve until his Dec. 18 sentencing. At that time, he would be suspended from office pending an appeal.

Lawyers disagree on what would happen next. According to different scenarios, Cicoria's suspension would create a vacancy until his appeals are exhausted, an interim appointment by the council, or a special election.

"The only thing I think is clear is it is a legal swamp," Maloney said.

Added Assistant Attorney General Robert Zarnoch, a specialist in state election law, "This is so messed up."

Or, to hear Ball tell it, "This election is funny. Tony is still on the ballot. Del's a nice man, but he's being used. Sunday Abraham {who lost the Republican primary to Ball} is also a write-in candidate. I might just accidentally win this thing."