Newspaper Caper

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In 1998, Deputies from the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department attempted to purchase all copies of the Election Day 1998 issue of the newspaper St. Mary's Today. The issue contained a front-page article titled "Fritz Guilty of Rape." St. Mary's County State's Attorney Richard Fritz was running for election.

Mr. Kenneth C. Rossignol, publisher of the St. Mary's Today, filed a lawsuit in 1999 alleging violations of civil rights and freedom of speech. Defendants included State's Attorney Richard Fritz, Former Sheriff Richard Voorhar, and several Sheriff's Deputies. In April 2005, the county's insurance trust agreed to settle the suit and pay $425,000. Richard Fritz was to pay $10,000 in addition to that amount.

The case was originally heard in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Greenbelt (Rossignol v. Voorhaar, 199 F. Supp. 2d 279, 286-89 (2002)). The district court ruled in favor of the defendants on the grounds that they had not acted under the color of state law. The case was then appealed. The court decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Cicuit is located at It contains a pertinent details of the case and is a worthwhile read.

ABC News Coverage

ABC Television did a lengthy investigative report about the alleged rape. The victim came forward after seeing the headline in the St. Mary's Today and was interviewed on camera in this piece. Richard Fritz and then publisher of St. Mary's Today are also interviewed on camera.

PART 1 of 2:

PART 2 of 2:

In The Print News