By Ken Rossignol
THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY
LEONARDTOWN — According to St. Mary’s Circuit Court records, St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard D. Fritz was forced into a Circuit Court by his first ex-wife in 1982 to provide child support for the couple’s child, who was 16 years of age.
On January 25, 1982, Court records show that Sheila Hare Presley, whom Fritz married in 1966 and divorced in 1969, filed proceedings with the St. Mary’s Circuit Court to require that her ex-husband provide child support for their daughter.
Fritz had worked as an assistant state’s attorney under State’s Attorney C. Clarke Raley and, in that capacity, had locked up men in St. Mary’s County for failing to pay their child support. His present job is responsible for the enforcement of child support.
Judge James Kenney was appointed as a Special Prosecutor to force Richard Fritz to pay to support his child.
Due to Fritz’s employment in the state’s attorney’s office, a special prosecutor was appointed to prosecute Fritz. James A. Kenney III, now a Maryland Appeals Court Judge, represented the State of Maryland in the proceedings against Fritz. Fritz was the defendant in the charges filed under the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act, as Presley lived in Virginia.
On June 8, 1982, an agreement stipulating Fritz’s financial support for his child was agreed to and filed in the record, and the Order was signed by a judge later that month.
Besides ordering that Fritz pays for the support of his child, an act that Presley contends he failed to do for most of the girl’s life until the agreement was signed, Fritz was ordered to pay for one-half of her college education. In an interview, Presley said that he had not lived up to that part of the agreement and that she never pursued him in court for the money as she was tired of the hassle of doing so.
At his office, a message left for Fritz at the time of the original publication of this article requesting comment before the deadline was not returned.
The Virginia Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Deputy Clerk then filed an action in 1983, once again while Fritz was still an assistant state’s attorney, informing the St. Mary’s Circuit Court that Fritz was still not complying with the Order of the court to which he had agreed the previous year.
“Respondent in the above-styled cause is not complying with the order of support,” wrote Deputy Clerk Margaret Pike, who noted in the filing that Fritz was a prosecutor at the St. Mary’s courthouse. “Please take whatever action you consider proper to obtain enforcement of the Court Order.”
Presley said that Fritz was a struggling college student and was unable to provide much in the way of support, with only a few payments ever made while he was in college. But after he graduated and became employed as a public defender, was in private practice, and became a prosecutor, he still failed to pay child support, and she said that she decided to force him to do so.
“He never stayed in touch with our daughter,” said Presley, who contacted ST. MARY’S TODAY, “but after the court proceedings, he paid after that.”
Presley said that she had heard about the allegations made by Carla Henning Bailey that the incident which took place on St. Georges Island in 1964, which Bailey contends was a case of gang rape in which Fritz and two others held her down and forcibly raped her. While Fritz claims the attack was a case of consensual sex. Fritz later pled guilty to having sexual relations with a minor child, as Bailey was 15 at the time and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Presley said that while she was not there when the alleged rape occurred, she doubted that Fritz had forced himself on Bailey as many girls were lining up to have sex with him at the time.
Woman Says She Was Forcibly Raped By State’s Attorney Richard Fritz, 2 Others
“I was going with him at the time, and he told me what he had done,” said Presley, “that she got worried and changed her story; he said she let them do that.”
Bailey contends that she screamed for help the entire time the three young men were raping her.
Presley said that every time the child support case was ready to go to court, something happened to delay it, noting that Fritz would claim that he didn’t know her whereabouts.
“I told him years ago that he should have been a car salesman,” said Presley. “He had a rough life growing up, and he’s done well compared to the way he grew up; he had to care for his younger brother and sister while others his age were out having fun, he grew up fast. There is still a lot of pity in me for him.”
Child was 16 before Fritz was forced to pay support
Presley said that following the court’s Order, she finally got money from Fritz, only after their child was 16, but that she never collected on the costs of their daughter attending college. She claims that Fritz told her to pay the costs, and then he would pay her half.
“We never pursued it,” said Presley, “he never paid it.”
Fritz does not mention his daughter or grandchildren from his marriage to Presley on his 2018 or 2022 campaign materials or social media.