Doctor Assessed for Harassment

A D.C. Superior Court jury has ordered a diet physician to pay $280,000 in damages to three employees who said he sexually harassed them.

The women worked during the mid-1990s for Robert S. Beale Jr., a doctor who has offices downtown and in Southeast Washington. They had testified that Beale made sexual advances and then fired them when they rejected him.

The jury awarded $115,000 to Laura Merriex, $95,000 to Tanika Steen and $70,000 to Sharron Williams. Steen's attorney, Linda Correia, said that Beale made offensive remarks to all three employees. Neil Henrichsen, Merriex's attorney, said jurors sent a message "that sexual harassment is not tolerated here in the community."

At the trial, which ended Thursday, Beale denied any wrongdoing. His attorney, Robert Watkins, declined to comment yesterday.


Radio Host Sues Police for $2 Million

Radio shock jock Don Geronimo has filed a $2 million lawsuit against a spokesman for the Fairfax County Police Department and a county police officer, alleging that incorrect information released about his arrest last year damaged his reputation.

Geronimo, 40, whose real name is Michael L. Sorce, was arrested Aug. 5, 1998, after an officer said he was driving his 1997 Toyota Supra at 75 mph in a 35 mph zone in Great Falls. Geronimo was charged with reckless driving, possession of marijuana and driving under the influence, though a blood test analyzed later showed no intoxication at the time of the arrest. The DUI charge was dropped, and Geronimo was found guilty on the other two charges.

In his suit, filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court, Geronimo said that Officer Donald McAuliffe and spokesman Warren Carmichael released false information to the press that said Geronimo had been driving under the influence, though no field or chemical tests were conducted.

Police spokesman Carmichael said yesterday that department policy is to not comment on a matter under litigation. Officer McAuliffe could not be reached. A telephone message left for him at the police department was not returned.


Handyman Charged With Wiretapping

A Howard County handyman has been charged in Anne Arundel County with installing a video camera to secretly tape a woman in her home bathroom, county investigators said.

Thomas Paul Deibler, 34, of Laurel, surrendered Thursday in connection with the incident. Deputy State's Attorney William Roessler said the 42-year-old Edgewater woman discovered the camera in her bathroom on June 19 and called prosecutors.

Until Maryland law changes on Oct. 1, it is not illegal to secretly videotape someone. But because tapes of the Edgewater woman have an audio portion, he has been charged with two counts of illegal wiretapping, authorities said.

Judge Upholds Babysitter's Sentence

A Queen Anne's County judge declined yesterday to reduce the sentence of Stacey Russum, the Kent Island babysitter who is serving a 28-month prison term for a series of mistakes she made that led to the May 1998 deaths of two infants in her care.

However, Judge John Sause Jr. did strike without comment a provision in the conditions of Russum's eventual probation that would have forbidden her to see her own children without supervision. Russum's husband, Wes, said his wife is allowed to see their 14-year-old-son and 11-year-old daughter once a week for five minutes and their 7-year-old daughter once a month.