Ex-Officer in Md. Settles Civil Suit

A former Prince George's County police officer who admitted he beat a handcuffed Bowie man has settled a civil lawsuit filed by the man's estate in which the former officer agrees to a $30,000 payment to the estate if the county indemnifies him, agreeing to pay the amount.

In March 1998, Cpl. Timothy J. Moran pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to using his nightstick to beat a handcuffed Peter Peluso outside Peluso's Bowie house on May 11, 1994. Moran and his partner were responding to a property line dispute between Peluso and a neighbor.

Moran became the first Prince George's County police officer ever convicted of federal civil rights violations, according to longtime observers of the department. He was sentenced last year to five months of incarceration and five months of home detention.

Peluso died of a heart attack in January 1998. His widow filed a civil lawsuit against Moran and the county, alleging excessive force. County attorneys had represented Moran until he decided to plead guilty to the federal offense.

Michael Silverman, the Ellicott City attorney representing Peluso's widow, Jodi O. Peluso, said Moran agreed to the $30,000 payment to the Peluso estate and that Moran's attorney has filed a motion in Prince George's County Circuit Court asking that a judge rule that the county should indemnify Moran for the settlement. A hearing on the matter will probably be held.

"The county should be paying this," Silverman said. "The county employed and trained Moran. The county defended Moran [against allegations he beat Peluso], until he told the truth. When he told the truth, they dropped him like a hot potato."

In the meantime, a separate civil lawsuit by the Peluso estate against the county is moving forward, Silverman said.

-- Ruben Castaneda

Fairfax Mayor Resumes Post After Surgery

Fairfax City Mayor John Mason, who in June turned over his official duties to a City Council member while he was being treated for bladder cancer, said he has recently resumed his post after successful surgery.

Mason, 64, is undergoing chemotherapy for the cancer, which was discovered during a routine checkup two years ago. He underwent an initial treatment of chemotherapy, but the cancer spread, prompting the surgery.

Council member Gary Rasmussen took over as acting mayor for June and July while Mason recuperated at his home. The council does not meet during August, so Mason said his public schedule is light.

He said the current round of chemotherapy treatment will leave him tired but able to conduct mayoral duties. His first efforts will be to continue discussion with citizens about the city's downtown redevelopment plans.

Mason said he will also be returning to his job as a transportation consultant for a Tysons Corner company.

-- Michael D. Shear