By SCOTT DAUGHERTY/ Staff Writers
A clerical error by state prison officials led to the inadvertent release last month of a man who is a suspect in a brutal 1999 sexual assault in Glen Burnie.
Prison administrators admitted yesterday that a staffer overlooked a court order to hold 40-year-old Ronald Lee Moore when they released him on Nov. 21 from the Baltimore City Correctional Center.
Mark Vernarelli, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services that runs the Baltimore prison, said the order "was not noticed due to human error."
"The commitment office handles well over 100,000 cases annually, keeping track of 14,000 intakes and releases every year; overseeing nearly 7,000 case reviews ... and monitoring the status of 24,000 incarcerated men and women on a daily basis," Mr. Vernarelli said "The job is very, very difficult."
According to charging documents, Moore broke into a Glen Burnie apartment on Green Bud Lane at about 1:45 a.m. Oct. 23, 1999, and sexually assaulted a woman inside.
County police reopened the investigation after getting the DNA match and obtained a District Court arrest warrant on May 22 of this year. County sheriff's deputies sent a "detainer" to the Maryland Division of Corrections the following day in order to make sure prison officials didn't release Mr. Moore to the street.
"It's unusual that he was released ... but I don't think anything was done out of the norm in Annapolis," said Maj. Rick Tabor of the county Sheriff's Department.
Clerk of the Circuit Court Robert P. Duckworth said prison officials usually abide by commitment orders. He said he doesn't think Moore was released on purpose, but "it just shows lack of concern on their part. ... They, I guess, just didn't pay attention."
Sgt. Sara Schriver, county police spokesman, said the department's fugitive team is looking for him. She hopes media attention to the case will lead members of the community to call detectives and turn him over to police.
Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Tracy Morgan at 410-222-3466 or 410-222-8610.