Mechelle Kerns, archeologist on the hotel project, has sworn an official complaint against hotel critic and cartoonist Patrick Allen with the District Court of Maryland alleging criminal harassment. A preliminary inquiry into Kerns complaint is scheduled for February 24th in the Commissioner’s Office of the state court system in Glen Burnie.
Kerns who submitted an archeology report to the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) on behalf of Plamondon the hotel developer got engaged in fierce exchanges with Allen, a Frederick County critic of the project over Facebook postings in the fall. At the time she threatened a libel case against Allen demanding retractions and apologies. Her archeology report was one of two required by the State on the 19th century Birely Tannery building which has to be demolished to make way for the proposed hotel complex.
Kerns sworn statement in support of criminal charges
against Allen begins: “I am a victim of sustained and repeated harassment by Patrick William Allen resulting in criminal behavior by Mr Allen under 3-803… “ She refers to Facebook material posted between August 28 last year and January 5.
“His behavior is essentially ‘cyber-bulling’ (perhaps ‘cyber bullying’) but as I am an adult there are no protections. He has used his social media account on Facebook, a fake newspaper, titled The Frederick Chronicles to attack, harass, discredit and condemn my professional work and personal conduct with unfounded accusations due to his opposition to a real estate development where I am the consulting archeologist.”
The public argument between Allen and Kerns began over the possibility of soil contamination on the tannery site, which Kerns dismissed in scathing terms. Charges of liar and lying over the contamination/hazardous waste issue went back and forth.
Kerns complains Allen called for her removal from the hotel project.
She did claim at one point she had lost her job over the fierce contamination controversy. She also complains that Allen sent what she calls ‘fake and false information’ to the Register of Professional Archeologists and to the US Naval Academy where she teaches.
“(Allen) has relentlessly attempted to effect (she means ‘affect’) my ability to earn a living, discredit me among my peers, clients, the public, and outside employers. Moreover, his posting on the INTERNET have (has) the potential to affect my ability to earn a living in the future now that he (h)as tainted my company brand with his accusations and falsehoods.”
She complains of “significant emotional distress” and effects on her personal and professional relationships. Her complaint ends: “I wish for him (Allen) to be prosecuted under 3-803 HARASSMENT and 3-805 MISUSE OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS OR INTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICE.”
On a separate page she handwrites that she does not know Allen and has never ‘meet’ (met) him face to face.
The case is called State of Maryland vs Patrick William Allen, District Court of Maryland for Anne Arundel County, Case D-07-CR-17-005770. The charges are Allen “did without a legal purpose maliciously engage in a course of conduct that seriously annoyed Mechelle Kerns, with intent to annoy Mechelle Kerns, after request to desist. Against the Peace, Government and Dignity of the State.”
COMMENT: I have never understood why Kerns got herself into such passionate public argument over hazardous waste issues and lambasting critics of the hotel project when her job was site history and archeology. At times she seemed to relish being part of the larger controversy, which grew when she claimed (falsely, it turned out) that hotel critics had got her fired from the project. Harsh words went both directions, and Kerns apparently found it difficult to disengage. And still hasn’t.
Unless something new turns up no prosecutor is going to take this case on. He’s going to think: there’s nothing here beyond a slanging match. And to speak the old adage: if you can’t stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen.
Kerns business website: