George R. Harrod, the director of the District of Columbia government's personnel office was placed on administrative leave yesterday after a D.C. Superior Court grant jury indicted him on a charge that he assaulted a woman staff aide.
The woman, Dolly S. Honablew, 28, alleged in a sworn statement given to the U.S. attorney's office that the incident occurred after she attempted to break off a sexual relationship with Harrod. In the statement, Honablew said that Horrod called her into his office on Aug. 30 and began "choking her striking her and throwing her several times onto a chair, his sofa and the floor."
Harrod, 56, in an interview with The Washington Post last week, said, "I haven't beaten anyone." He said he was aware of the allegation by Honablew but described her as "a disgruntled employe who made some allegations that are not true." Harrod could not be reached for comment yesterday after he was indicted.
Honablew, who worked as a secretary in Harrod's office, said in her statement that Harrod "used threats to terminate her employment and to harm her physically" if she did not engage in sexual activities with him.
Honablew's attorney, John W. Karr, sent copies of Honablew's sworn statements to then Mayor Walter E. Washington and U.S. Attorney Earl J. Silbert less than a month after the incident.
The U.S. attorney's office brought the case to the grand jury this week after a lengthy investigation of Honablew's allegations.
In a single-sentence indictment returned to Chief Judge H. Carl Moultrie I yesterday morning, the grand jury charged Horrod with one count of simple assault, a misdemeanor. If convicted, Harrod faces a $500 fine, one year in prison or both.
Usually, a simple assault charge can be brought by the prosecutor's office without taking the case to the grand jury for indictment, according to James M. Owens, chief of the misdemeanor division of the U.S. attorney's office.
But because the Harrod case was "senitive and controversial," Owens said, the prosecutor's office elected to take it to the grand jury for a decision.
After bearing testimony form numerous witnesses, the grand jury charged yesterday that Harrod "unlawfully assaulted and threatened Dolly S. Honeblew in a menacing manner."
Horrod became director of personnel for the 44,000-worker District government on May 28, 1975. He joined city government two year earlier after having worked for the federal government as a personnel specialist for more than 30 years.
Mayor Marion Barry reappointed Harrod on Jan. 2, even though, several Barry aides said yesterday, the mayor knew the incident for which Harrod was indicted yesterday was under investigation.
Harrod was one of a handful of top personal aides to former Mayor Washington retained in the Barry administration. One of the major reasons Barry kept Harrod was to help the new mayor institute sweeping changes in the city's bureacracy - which Barry promised during his campaign.
In addition to helping Barry with the transition, Harrod was considered essential to smooth implementation of the city's new passed merit personnel system law.
City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers announced yesterday that Harrod, who earns $47,500 a year, had asked for and been granted five days of administrative leave with pay. Once the five days expires, Harrod will take annual leave, Rogers said.
Jose Gutierrez, a former deputy assistant on the city administrator's staff, was named acting personnel director yesterday.
Honablew, who is married to a District police officer, was hired to work in Harrod's office as a secretary under the federal Comprehensive Employment and Training Act.
In her statement to the U.S. attorney's office and former Mayor Washington, Honablew said she was approached by Harrod shortly after she began working in his office.
Honablew said in the statement that before and after her marriage in August 1977 she objected to Harod about the relationship.
Last August, Honablew said in her statement, she told Harrod she would not continue the relationship because she was pregnant and that his demands were contrary to her religious convictions and "personal sense of morality."
After the alleged incident with Harold on Aug. 30, Honablew said in the statement, she brought her husband, Samuel, to Harrod's office. According to Honablew's statement, Harrod told her husband that she had been injured when she "tripped over a waste-basket."
Shortly after the alleged assault, Officer Honablew took his wife to her physician, Dr. Lenox Westney, who examined and treated her for bruises, according to the sworn statement. The next day, Honablew was admitted to Howard University Hospital for further treatment, according to her statement. Honablew has not returned to her job since the incident. CAPTION: Picture, GEORGE R. HARROD ... "I haven't beaten anyone"