NORRISTOWN — The Montgomery County detective who was a defendant in a lawsuit brought by a Radnor contractor who was wrongfully accused of stealing from a Jenkintown church is no longer working for the district attorney’s office.
The district attorney’s office confirmed Thursday that Mary Anders, who worked in the detective bureau since February 1989, was terminated from her job on Wednesday. Anders’ current salary was $98,411.
District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman would not comment on the matter, explaining it was a personnel matter.
Anders could not be reached for comment.
But Anders’ departure came on the same day it was announced that Radnor contractor Walter Logan Jr. received a $1.6 million civil settlement and an apology from prosecutors for wrongfully accusing him of a crime. Logan, 65, and his lawyers announced the settlement, reached in federal court, with the district attorney’s office, during a news conference on Wednesday.
In January 2009, Ferman’s office accused Logan of swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars, during a contract dispute, from Salem Baptist Church of Jenkintown, which had hired Logan’s construction management company, Delta Organization Inc., in 2003 to complete additions to the church. In May 2009, an independent arbiter found the church’s claims without merit and ordered the church to pay Logan more than $300,000 in overdue fees and damages, according to Logan’s lawyers.
A year after his arrest and more than six months after the arbitrator’s ruling, in January 2010, Ferman’s office dismissed charges against Logan.
In May 2010, Logan filed the federal lawsuit against Salem Baptist, Ferman and Anders, seeking damages for alleged unlawful arrest, defamation and malicious prosecution. In his lawsuit, Logan alleged Anders, the lead investigator who drafted the arrest affidavit, included false assertions and material omissions.
Last August, U.S. District Court Judge J. Curtis Joyner, in a ruling that positioned the civil case for trial, addressed the allegations of false statements made in the affidavit of probable cause by writing, “Here, a reasonable juror could conclude that Detective Anders acted with reckless disregard for the truth in making false statements and omissions in her affidavit of probable cause,” according to court documents.
“Were a jury to conclude that Detective Anders made the material false statements and omissions in the affidavit…it could similarly conclude that no probable cause existed to believe that Logan had acted deceptively in his relationship with Salem,” Joyner also wrote in his memorandum and order.
As part of the $1.6 million financial settlement reached this week, Ferman had to write a formal apology to Logan. Ferman said, after reviewing available information including an award against Salem and in favor of Logan in the civil arbitration hearing, that “there was absolutely no credible evidence” that Logan committed any crime.
“The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office apologizes to Mr. Logan for the arrest and any statements made to the press regarding the arrest. There is no credible evidence that Mr. Logan ever stole anything from Salem Baptist Church, and we retract any statements to that effect previously made to the media,” Ferman wrote. “We will work with Mr. Logan to facilitate the expungement of all records of his arrest.”
County taxpayers are on the hook for about $270,000 of the settlement to Logan – a $250,000 deductible associated with a county insurance policy and another $20,000 deductible associated with another insurance policy for attorney’s fees, according to Frank Custer, director of county communications. The county defendants were represented by a law firm retained by one of the county’s insurance carriers, according to county officials.
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