Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Registered Sex Offender Remained on City Payroll While Incarcerated

Dennis J. McLaughlin, a water maintenance worker for Baltimore’s Department of Public Works (DPW), continued to earn his salary from 2007 to 2008 while serving a prison sentence for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

McLaughlin, 37, pleaded guilty to a first-degree sex offense in 2007. Sentenced to 16 months, he was released eight months early in May 2008 according to the Maryland Department of Corrections. Incredibly he then resumed his employment with DPW, which occasionally required him to check water leaks in private residences and schools.

An investigation by Investigative Voice, and later by the city’s Inspector General, found that McLaughlin received $12,700 in sick leave, vacation and holiday pay during the time he was incarcerated. The investigation further revealed that McLaughlin was able to remain on the city’s payroll by using fraudulent sick leave requests.

All of this came to light only after McLaughlin, a 10-year DPW employee, was arrested again in January 2010, this time for allegedly impersonating a police officer while sexually assaulting a Baltimore County woman. He later pleaded guilty to those charges.

Professing ignorance, city officials claimed they did not know McLaughlin had served eight months in prison for sexually abusing a minor or how he had managed to stay on the city’s payroll while incarcerated – even though he was placed on Maryland’s sex offender registry as a result of his initial conviction.

Three DPW employees received short suspensions, while McLaughlin’s mother, Joyce, who worked as a DPW supervisor, retired. DPW director David E. Scott and the head of the agency’s Water and Wastewater Bureau were forced to resign.

In May 2010, the mayor of Baltimore issued new rules requiring city workers to report when they are arrested; the city also filed suit against McLaughlin and his mother, seeking to recover the wages he was paid while in prison.


As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login