- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2001

ANNAPOLIS — Former D.C. Mayor Marion S. Barry, sentenced yesterday to probation and community service in an assault case involving a cleaning woman in a BWI Airport restroom last summer, said he was framed.
"Let me just say that none of this happened," Mr. Barry told reporters after accepting the plea agreement and avoiding a jury trial in an Anne Arundel County courtroom.
"She pushed me," Mr. Barry said of the cleaning woman, Terry Jenkins, 30, of Baltimore.
He also accused Anne Arundel County States Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee of insisting on prosecuting the case without evidence to convict.
"Mr. Weathersbee pursued this case with a vengeance," Mr. Barry said. "This prosecutor ought to be ashamed of himself."
Mr. Barry said he agreed to the deal because he was concerned that Anne Arundel County jurors might already have strong opinions about his character.
"Quite frankly, I didnt feel that comfortable pursuing this in Anne Arundel County," Mr. Barry said.
Mr. Barry, who served three consecutive terms as mayor beginning in 1978, left the office in disgrace in 1991 after being videotaped smoking crack cocaine in a downtown hotel.
After serving a six-month prison term, Mr. Barry staged a comeback. He was elected to the D.C. Council and then was elected mayor for a fourth term in 1994. He did not seek re-election in 1998.
Mrs. Jenkins, mother of five, claimed she had put up signs and cart blockades on July 6 to indicate the restroom at Baltimore Washington International Airport was closed.
But Mr. Barry forced his way in, she said, pushing her aside and unzipping his pants as he went to a urinal. She complained to police and filed charges.
Mr. Barry, 65, denied anything happened that night. He said he has to make frequent stops at restrooms since surgery for prostate cancer in 1995. However, 137 days later, he filed charges of assault against Mrs. Jenkins, claiming she pushed him.
The states attorney dropped those charges Feb. 7, claiming insufficient evidence.
The former mayors statements came outside the courthouse after Circuit Judge Joseph P. Manck found Mr. Barry guilty of second-degree assault and sentenced him to one year on probation and 20 hours of community service in the District. The judge also fined him $145 court costs and ordered Mr. Barry to have no contact with Mrs. Jenkins.
The agreement, legally called an Alford plea, has the effect of allowing Mr. Barry to maintain his innocence while agreeing that the prosecutors can prove the case against him.
As part of the agreement, Assistant States Attorney Anne Colt Leitess dropped an indecent exposure charge against Mr. Barry. If convicted, Mr. Barry could have been sentenced to three years for that. The maximum sentence for second-degree assault is 10 years.
The agreement includes "probation before judgment," which means the assault conviction will be expunged from Mr. Barrys record if he completes one year without violating probation.
Mr. Barry appeared nonchalant yesterday. He never once addressed the judge as "sir," as is customary. A deputy sheriff had to admonish him to take his hands out of his pockets when he arose to face Judge Manck.
Yesterday was not the end of the case. Mrs. Jenkins has filed a $300,000 lawsuit against Mr. Barry for assault and battery and "intentional infliction of emotional distress." That trial is expected to begin in Baltimore in a couple of months.
"Shes not going to get a penny," Mr. Barry said yesterday. "I didnt do anything to her Its clear to me Mrs. Jenkins knew who I was."
Mr. Barrys attorney, Fred Cooke, pointed out that the Alford plea could work to Mr. Barrys advantage in the civil case. A conviction in criminal court requires juries to convict when convinced "beyond a reasonable doubt." Without that certainty, a civil lawsuit judgment is more unpredictable.
Mr. Barry said Mrs. Jenkins wanted a sentence of 10 years imprisonment for him, but Mrs. Leitess said Mrs. Jenkins was present and agreed to the plea agreement.
"Shes happy with the outcome," Mrs. Leitess said, explaining that the just-after-midnight incident has interfered with Mrs. Jenkins ability to work to support her children. Her job required her to work late at night.
Soon after the incident, Mrs. Jenkins quit her job because, she said, she did not want to face the possibility of some other man insisting on entering a restroom while she was cleaning.
Mrs. Leitess said the airport, for a short time after that, directed only male cleaners to clean the mens restrooms.
Prepared for a jury trial, Mrs. Leitess displayed photographs of the restroom and the hallway outside the restroom where Mr. Barry and Mrs. Jenkins had their confrontation.The photos showed another nearby restroom which Mrs. Jenkins suggested Mr. Barry use, Mrs. Leitess said.
"She didnt put up just one sign. She put up four signs," and a trash cart around the restroom entrance, Mrs. Leitess said.
"Mr. Barry was never really interested in admitting he had done anything wrong," Mrs. Leitess said. "The night of the incident, he denied to the police officer that anything happened. He still denies he pushed anyone."

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