- The Washington Times - Monday, June 21, 2004

BALTIMORE — His eyes welling with tears, former Maryland State Police Superintendent Edward T. Norris yesterday was sentenced to six months in prison for using thousands of dollars in police funds to pay for extramarital affairs when he was Baltimore’s police chief.

Norris also was sentenced to six months of home detention after prison. John Stendrini, his chief of staff in Baltimore, was sentenced to six months of home detention.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bennett scolded the men for tarnishing the public trust as the nation tries to protect itself from terrorism. He said they were like “two soldiers who go AWOL during a crucial time.”

“This was the wrong time for two outstanding cops to make a mistake,” Judge Bennett said.

Norris and Stendrini spent the money on lavish dinners and posh hotels as well as romantic encounters with several women. In one case, Norris used money from the police fund, which originally was designed to help families of police officers during the Depression, to buy lingerie for mistresses the day before Valentine’s Day.

Judge Bennett was sharply critical of the men for using the money for junkets, when they were supposed to be at a meeting of police chiefs in Toronto — six weeks after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Judge Bennett also ordered both men to pay a $10,000 fine. Norris was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service in Baltimore, and Stendrini must perform 300 hours.

The judge said he was recommending a minimum-security prison for Norris, possibly Eglin Air Force Base near Pensacola, Fla. The judge said Norris is to surrender to U.S. marshals on July 21.

Norris admitted spending as much as $30,000 from three off-the-books police accounts fromMay 2000 to August 2002 while serving as head of city police.

As part of an agreement with federal prosecutors, Norris pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to misuse city police funds and to one count of filing a false federal income-tax return.

In court yesterday, Norris wept and dabbed his eyes with a tissue as his wife, Katherine, told the judge what a good man and what a good police officer Norris was.

The family has been living in Tampa after selling their Maryland home. Norris has been staying at home with their 5-year-old son while Mrs. Norris worked to support the family.

The former police chief told the judge that he has apologized for his actions many times and will continue to apologize for the rest of his life.

“I fully accept responsibility for what happened,” Norris said.

In exchange for his guilty plea, federal authorities dropped other charges including misapplication of funds, making a false statement on a mortgage application and two more counts of filing a false statement on a tax return.

Stendrini pleaded guilty in March to a conspiracy charge, acknowledging that he and Norris schemed to use thousands of dollars from the supplemental expense account.

Norris joined the Baltimore department in May 2000 from the New York City police department, bringing with him a computer crime-tracking system called ComStat. Under his tenure, Baltimore cut its crime rates sharply.

He resigned Dec. 10 from his state position after the first indictments were unsealed and then moved to Tampa.

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