- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Prosecutors in Frederick, Md., said yesterday they will not pursue an assault charge filed against a mentally retarded man who was arrested and held overnight in jail after he showed up at work with urine on his pants, then resisted police when they tried to make him leave.

State's Attorney Scott Rolle said Robert Savage Jr., 41, is in no condition to stand trial because his mental disability is too severe.

"We would have difficulty getting him through court," said Mr. Rolle, who said the decision not to prosecute Mr. Savage was made after interviews yesterday with the officers who arrested Mr. Savage on June 24.

The Frederick News-Post reported last week that two Frederick police officers responded to a call at the Goodwill store on East Church Street, where supervisors were unable to persuade Mr. Savage to go home and change his pants.

Mr. Savage wet his pants before showing up for work, according to a statement from Goodwill. Supervisors asked him to go home, and a Goodwill official said police were called after Mr. Savage a "very large" man became increasingly agitated.

The situation worsened when officers arrived: During a struggle with the officers, Mr. Savage appeared to have cut his lip, the police report said. The News-Post reported that Mr. Savage spit in the face of one officer after being handcuffed. He was charged with assault, which carries up to 10 years in prison.

"I don't see with this relatively minor infraction that this particular case warrants the intrusion of the criminal justice system," Mr. Rolle said yesterday.

He added that it was not clear whether Mr. Savage spit in an officer's face or if saliva got on her face while Mr. Savage was being handcuffed.

Mr. Savage's mother, Frances Sweet, said the charges "should never have been brought about to begin with."

She said her son loves his job at Goodwill so much that he sometimes becomes belligerent when his shift ends. On one occasion, Mrs. Sweet said, a family member was called by the store to talk Mr. Savage into leaving.

"He just loves his job. He's been there more than 11 years, and he tells everyone on the street, 'Hey, I've got a job,'" she said.

Sue Holton, executive director of the subsidized care facility where Mr. Savage has lived for about 20 years, said she is relieved the charges are being dropped.

"He just really likes to work," she said. "He loves his job, and he just did not want to leave."

A Goodwill official said in a statement that the store looked forward to having Mr. Savage back at work.


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