Police reports detail sexual misconduct investigations of former Md. EMS director, chief

A paramedic says she was sexual harassed by a division chief while seeking a job at Allegany County Department of Emergency Services, and that the department head tried to cover it up


Teresa McMinn
Cumberland Times-News, Md.

CUMBERLAND, Md. — When Crissy Martz was approached about possible employment with Allegany County, she had no idea that her pursuit of the job would uncover layers of lies, secrets and scandal.

For nearly the past three years, she struggled to break through a series of degrading barriers, each one sending the message that a man's desires are more valuable than a woman's rights.

Martz fought to expose a system that allowed sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination to thrive, so other people in situations similar to hers would be safe to defend themselves.

For those folks, she now has a message of her own:

"You have the right to be heard, and you deserve justice."

Propositions

It all began with a job offer.

According to a Maryland State Police report obtained by the Cumberland Times-News, in early 2018, Martz expressed interest in a part-time job as a paramedic for the county.

"Her intentions were to function as a field paramedic working on an as-needed basis," the report states.

The following May, EMS Division Chief Robert "Bobby" Pattison approached Martz about overseeing quality assurance for Allegany County, the report states.

Martz, a registered nurse, has experience with oversight of quality assurance programs, project management and development, policy writing and developing protocols and procedures.

She's an instructor for the American Heart Association and has experience in educational instruction of adult students.

Martz is also a nationally registered and Maryland certified paramedic, and a support instructor for Garrett College's paramedic program.

She also participated in remedial training and disciplinary action for people who violate policies and procedures.

"I've built programs from the ground up," she said recently via email. "I understand the importance of OSHA regulations and even taught infectious disease and vaccination courses for the county."

For months, Martz and Pattison corresponded about the QA job via text and SnapChat.

While her messages asked how to proceed with the hiring process, his eventually mixed professional information with sexual comments and requests, according to the state police report.

In August 2018, he texted her that he was approved to hire her for the administrative position, but she would have to take a test and complete the interview process with other applicants for the job.

She complied, and would later hear from a county employee that she had the highest test score among the applicants.

At Pattison's request, Martz attended a meeting where he introduced her to the QA committee as the person who would oversee quality assurance for the county.

Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems Region I Administrator Dwayne Kitis and Allegany County EMS Operational Program Medical Director Dr. James Deren were at the meeting, Martz said.

Pattison told Martz an office was ready for her in Frostburg, and she was given computer administrative access to EMS patient care records needed to do the QA job.

Time passed, and Martz texted Pattison that she had not received an official job offer.

He replied, "send pics," and detailed a graphic sexual fantasy involving Martz, the state police report states.

She didn't respond.

That evening, he messaged her a photo of a penis and wrote "thinking of you," the police report states.

She didn't respond.

Soon after, Martz reported the situation to Kitis at his office in Frostburg.

"I wanted the job I had been promised," Martz said. "I wanted Pattison to learn that what he was doing was not OK. I didn't want what happened to me to happen to someone else."

At that time, Kitis and Martz called Pattison's supervisor, Allegany County DES Director Richard "Dick" DeVore, as well as Sarah Sette, assistant attorney general for MIEMSS, and reported Pattison's inappropriate behavior.

"I wasn't thrilled about having to share my story with Dick DeVore, or any other male, for that matter," Martz said.

"As a female who was reporting a sexual harassment complaint, I would have much rather shared that information with another female," Martz said. "Unfortunately, I didn't have much of a choice if I wanted to have my complaint heard ... there were no females in administrative positions at the time."

Martz said she trusted DeVore with her situation, which involved private, sensitive and personal information.

"I was hesitant, but felt as if (DeVore) was the one person within Allegany County Government that I could trust, and that would help me," she said. "I was hesitant because I know how things can be twisted to make the victim actually look like the villain, but I thought Dick was safe."

DeVore told Martz to give him a written complaint about Pattison.

"I hand-delivered it to his county office," she said. "It was around 6 p.m. He met me at the door. I didn't go inside. I thought it was weird that he was in his office so late on December 21st, the last Friday before Christmas."

A week later, Brandon Butler, the county administrator at the time, called Martz and asked her to meet with county attorneys Bill Rudd, who is now deceased, T. Lee Beeman and other officials to discuss the situation.

"I told (Butler) I didn't have anything more to say other than what was already in my written statement ... to DeVore," Martz said.

"What came next shocked me," she said. "(Butler) knew nothing about the eight-page written statement I had given DeVore. I immediately felt like something wasn't right. Why would someone hold onto a written statement from someone claiming sexual harassment and not tell the administrator of the county that it was in his possession, or that he had asked me to write one?"

Butler obtained the letter Martz had written, which he would later tell the state police was sealed when he got it.

Martz agreed to meet with county officials, and asked Butler if she needed a lawyer.

"I was nervous at the thought of talking to an attorney for the county without being represented or having someone there as a witness," Martz said. "At this point, DeVore had already held onto my written statement, so my level of trust with Allegany County was quickly diminishing."

Martz said Butler assured her that she could take someone to the interview.

"He said I could have anyone there as a witness," she said. "I had a colleague whom I had worked with (and) she specialized in treating domestic violence and sexual assault victims. Even though I wasn't physically assaulted, I asked her to go with me. Without hesitation, she agreed."

When they arrived at the county building, Rudd said her witness wasn't allowed to be in the room.

"He cited 'privacy' and 'confidentiality' concerns for Pattison," Martz said. "So, there I was, interrogated in a room, left alone with two male attorneys and a female from HR who did nothing more than take notes on a legal pad. When they 'kicked out' my witness, I thought about getting up and leaving. But, I felt trapped. I also felt that if I didn't speak now, I would lose my chance."

Although Martz had asked for and expected her situation to be kept classified, word of her complaint about Pattison got out into the community.

"I felt like my privacy and confidentiality rights didn't matter," she said.

After learning of Martz's situation, a colleague approached her and showed her a series of text messages allegedly between a young woman and DeVore, Martz said.

The young woman was interviewed by state police Sgt. Michael Ross of the McHenry barrack, who labeled her a victim in his report. The Cumberland Times-News does not name victims without their permission.

Ross stated in his report that the nature of the incident was "prostitution" and "known suspect allegedly had sex with victim for money."

The report also mentions "alleged distribution of Xanax pills from the suspect to the victim."

Ross recently said the case was investigated by state police in Garrett County, rather than in Allegany County where the incidents allegedly happened, in order to prevent any conflicts of interest.

"It was outsourced," he said.

According to Ross's report, in January 2019, Martz and her colleague — who is related to the victim and therefore also not being named in this article — met with Butler to discuss allegations against Pattison and DeVore.

"We showed (Butler) an iPad that contained months of messages ... I saw the pictures and the vulgar content on the iPad firsthand," Martz said.

"There was a message from DeVore wanting her to agree to send a longer video before a picture of a Money Gram transfer appeared," Martz said. "There were messages from DeVore insinuating that sexual activities had occurred on his desk and on the couch in his office."

DeVore also asked the victim to attend overnight work trips with him, Martz said.

"When she wouldn't respond to him, or if he didn't get to see her, there were messages from him that sounded angry. I remember in one of the conversations, there were 20 or 30 back-to-back 'hellos' written from Dick to her because she hadn't responded to his message," Martz said.

"Butler saw the pictures and read the messages, some of them, I can remember him reading out loud," Martz said. "Dick was doing things in his office and on county time — it was right there, in writing."

The Cumberland Times-News recently asked Butler, who resigned as county administrator in May, about the DeVore and ensuing situations, but he declined to comment due to "personnel matters."

Investigations

The newspaper obtained state police reports completed by Ross, who wrote in his investigation that "it was reported by subject ... that DeVore began giving her money in return for sexually explicit photographs, videos, as well as sexual favors."

The newspaper also requested state police reports with "extracted information from seized items" that reportedly belonged to DeVore.

According to the state police, forensic downloads from electronic devices included three videos, 25 photos and data from two cell phones.

Two of the three videos, as well as the 25 photos, were not releasable "as they constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy," according to Ida Williams, director of the state police's Central Records Division.

"As to the balance of records, we will continue our efforts to secure a copy of the third video as well as all extracted cell phone records, and review both to determine if they are releasable," she said via email.

Ross's report states that "( Criminal Enforcement Division) Western Region Investigators received the forensic download of seized items, prepared by Malintha S. Liyanage, Computer Forensics Analyst."

And "during review, twenty-two sexually explicit photographs of a female ... were located (and) two sexually explicit videos of (the victim were) located."

Also highlighted in the report was a video of a female, believed to be the victim, performing a sex act on a male subject "believed to be DeVore" inside a vehicle that appeared to be equipped with emergency vehicle radios.

"The make of the vehicle was identified as a Ford," the report states. "DeVore's work vehicle was reported to be a Ford."

Upon further analysis of images and videos, the examiner discovered a video of the "suspect (DeVore)" having sexual intercourse with a woman at a location "that appears to be the county work office of DeVore, Allegany County Department of Emergency Services," the report states.

"This evidence supports the allegations that DeVore did in fact utilize his office, as well as his work vehicle, to have sex with individuals while employed by Allegany County," the report states.

In one video, "this investigator could hear the female subject ... state to the male subject (DeVore) 'I thought you were going to video this' ... thus, disputing any allegations that (the victim) was being videoed without her knowledge," the report states.

"An additional video of DeVore giving an unidentified female an item that he removed from what appeared to be a prescription pill bottle was located," the report states. "The alleged drug transaction was performed while DeVore was seated in his county vehicle."

According to the report, the investigation of DeVore led Ross to interview Martz about Pattison in January 2019.

Ross interviewed Butler the following March.

At that time, Butler said Pattison had been terminated, and Butler on two separate occasions had asked DeVore to resign before DeVore agreed.

Later that month, Ross interviewed Pattison regarding Martz's complaint.

At that time, Ross told Pattison he was investigating allegations against DeVore, the report states.

Pattison said he and DeVore weren't "best buds" but were colleagues that "crossed paths quite frequently" at work-related functions and events.

According to Ross's report, Pattison said he received a message from DeVore on Dec. 22, 2018, "putting him on paid suspension due to an ongoing investigation for violation of the county IT policy," and on the following Jan. 15, Pattison was "called in and presented with the facts surrounding the complaint of sexual harassment and terminated on that same day."

The report states Pattison told Ross he "admitted to doing wrong and took the termination without contesting it."

Pattison also told Ross he was "morally wrong" for the inappropriate messages he had sent Martz.

No charges were filed against Pattison.

The Times-News recently contacted Pattison, who said he wasn't prepared to comment.

Ross presented findings of the DeVore investigation to Joyce King at the Frederick County State's Attorney's Office.

"Although unethical and certainly against county policy, the evidence recovered from the forensic downloads were not found to be of criminal nature," Ross states in the report.

"After consulting with the State's Attorney's Office about the facts/evidence in this case, along with the totality of the circumstances, the state's attorney has declined prosecution. All electronic devices have been returned back to those who hold ownership," it states.

Ross's report states that he also informed King of "the alleged distribution of Xanax pills from (DeVore) to the victim (and) prosecution was again declined."

King advised that "it would be up to the Allegany County Narcotics Task Force if they wished to seek charges for the distribution," the report states.

The state police declined to provide additional information or comment on potential charges related to the alleged Xanax distribution.

King recently said via email that her office was asked to handle the case to ensure an impartial and independent investigation of the alleged criminal conduct taking place in Allegany County, and added that her office determined there was insufficient evidence to move forward with a case against DeVore.

In January 2019, the Times-News reported that DeVore and Pattison had left their jobs.

At that time, Allegany County Commission President Jake Shade declined to say whether the men retired or were terminated.

"Neither of them are working for Allegany County government, that is all I can say right now," Shade said.

DeVore's Linkedin page currently states he is "Retired Director Of Emergency Services" for Allegany County Government.

'Testimony'

The Times-News asked DeVore about the police investigation and allegations.

In response, he provided a written statement.

"Upon careful evaluation, I have come to the conclusion that this chapter of my life is closed," DeVore said. "Over the last two years, I have made considerable progress in healing. I have no desire to derail that or to use this as an attempt at vindication, but will merely let the findings of the investigation, completed in mid- 2019, stand."

He wrote about the situation in a multi-part post on Facebook.

"This is my testimony and I own it so I will share it," DeVore wrote.

"In early January of 2019, God took control," he wrote. "He allowed things to unravel and become visible. Things that I wanted to keep hidden and out of the light of the public. Bringing them out was God's way to waking me up and taking control. How bad was it you say? In one case, there was an accusation of solicitation that prompted a police investigation. The results determined no evidence of any violation of law. I was accused of covering up a sexual harassment charge in my department. This was not true but there was the allegation to deal with."

DeVore's social media post went on to ask men that are "spiraling out of control" to contact him.

"Specifically, if you're a man and you are struggling, message me! I want to be able to stand beside you and help hold you up as God does ... work in your life just as he has done in mine," DeVore wrote. "Praise and glory be to God!"

The post continued for days.

"I must admit, last night I was very upset and angry over something. I was running through my mind how I could seek revenge or get back at someone for what they did. Strange thing is in the course of all that I sat down to read the Bible. I just randomly opened to a book and chapter. I spoke loud and clear," DeVore wrote.

He posted a link to "Romans 12" that includes, "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

___

(c)2020 the Cumberland Times News (Cumberland, Md.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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