Suspended deputy AG returns to work in Sussex

DOVER — A Delaware deputy attorney general suspended with pay in February pending investigation into an undisclosed incident at the Sussex County Courthouse returned to work this week, officials said Wednesday.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), the state prosecutor resumed duties Monday, ending a 49-day suspension with pay (officially administrative leave) as the discipline-related matter was investigated.

Citing the personnel-related manner of the investigation, the DOJ would not disclose the attorney’s name or nature of the incident under scrutiny.

The AG’s office released a statement late Wednesday afternoon that included:

“With regards to the Sussex County DOJ employee, he was placed on administrative leave with pay for 49 work days while an investigation and disciplinary process took place, and the employee has now returned to work.

“Discipline action was taken against the employee.”

Another deputy attorney general in Kent County remains suspended with pay for 17 days as of Wednesday as investigation into an undisclosed matter continues, the DOJ said. The DOJ has said it will provide an update when the unnamed prosecutor’s employment status changes.

Attorney General Matt Denn has declined media interview requests as matters proceeded, citing them as pending personnel issues. The AG’s office has answered media questions through a department spokesman.

Earlier, the Attorney Generals office announced that no criminal charges against those involved in the Sussex County incident were warranted.

Last week, the Department of Justice confirmed that two other agency employees have been placed on administrative leave in 2015, one with pay for four work days and no longer employed there, and the other 10 days without pay and still at the DOJ. The DOJ would not disclose their job positions.

‘It was highly inappropriate’

In mid-March, the DOJ released a statement as investigation into a possible Sussex County courthouse incident continued, saying:

“DOJ has taken the incident very seriously and believes it was highly inappropriate. After an investigation, it has been determined that the elements of the event do not warrant charging or prosecuting any of the participants with a crime.

“The status of the deputy attorney general is that he continues to be suspended with pay, pending personnel action.”

Last week, the AG’s office said personnel matters with a possibly serious impact on personal lives and careers could take a significant time to investigate. Also factoring in were an employee’s appeal options, and officials said in a statement that administrative leave while actions are pending “is not a vacation.”

On April 30 the Delaware Administrative Office of the Courts issued a statement after receiving media questions on whether any courthouse personnel, including bailiffs or other employees, may have been involved in any possible incidents at the Sussex County Courthouse:

“This remains a personnel matter, so we cannot comment on the situation. However, as we said earlier, safety is a priority at our courthouses and appropriate personnel action is being taken.”

The Court was first contacted on Feb. 13 regarding a possible incident at the Sussex County Courthouse, and provided a response statement, which included in part:

“ … The Judiciary has been actively working on its policies regarding courthouse security and who should have firearms, and has sought advice from the best sources.

“Although we cannot comment on these specific incidents, they confirm the Judiciary’s belief that we need to continue to work with our Capitol Police partners to make our courthouses as safe as possible.”

Capitol Police said at the time that it did not confirm or deny any possible ongoing investigations, and would not comment unless criminal charges were filed.

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