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Md. police official resigns after indictment

Allegedly misused charities' money

BALTIMORE -- Maryland's police superintendent resigned yesterday after being indicted on charges of spending charity money on extramarital affairs and personal trips while he was Baltimore's police commissioner.

Edward Norris will be reinstated if he is cleared of the charges, said Governor Robert Ehrlich, who accepted the resignation.

Indicted with Norris on Tuesday was his former chief of staff, John Stendrini. They are accused of misusing more than $20,000 between May 2000 and August 2002 from an account created from three Depression-era charity funds set up to benefit police officers.

"The defendants repeatedly used the funds as if it were their own ATM," US Attorney Thomas DiBiagio said.

DiBiagio said the pair also used police officers to "transport female companions in connection with romantic encounters" between Norris and at least six women.

Norris also used money from the fund to "stock his house with alcohol, pay for travel, pay for gifts from Victoria's Secret and Coach," DiBiagio said.

Norris's attorney, Andrew J. Graham, did not respond to phone calls seeking comment. Stendrini's attorney, Michael Schatzow, could not immediately be reached for comment, his office said.

Norris, 43, was credited with sharply reducing crime during his tenure as Baltimore police commissioner from May 2000 through 2002. He came to the city from the New York Police Department.

He is charged with conspiracy to misapply funds, misapplication of funds, and making a false statement in a mortgage application to a municipal employees' credit union. Stendrini, 60, is charged with conspiracy to misapply funds, misapplication of funds, and obstruction of justice.

If convicted of all charges, Norris could face up to 45 years in prison. Stendrini could face a maximum sentence of 25 years.

More indictments could follow, DiBiagio said.

"The investigation is continuing, and this case is about more than Ed Norris," DiBiagio said.

Norris and Stendrini were expected to surrender today and make court appearances.

Thomas E. Hutchins, secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, will serve as acting police superintendent, Ehrlich said.

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