Two-Year Sentence For Solicitation

SNOW HILL — A Silver Spring, Md. man, who pleaded guilty last month to sexually soliciting and sending images of child pornography to a local girl in April, was sentenced to two years in jail in Worcester County Circuit Court.

On April 2, the Maryland State Police forwarded a case involving child pornography and solicitation to the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI). Detectives met with the complainant, the father of a 14-year-old girl who had allegedly been sexually solicited and sent pornography images by a suspect identified as Hector Ochoa-Barrios, 28, of Silver Spring.

WCBI detectives assumed the identity of the 14-year-old victim and continued communication with Ochoa-Barrios. The suspect again sexually solicited whom he thought was the juvenile and expressed an interest in meeting her to engage in various sexual activities.

Detectives arranged to meet with Ochoa-Barrios in Snow Hill and Ochoa-Barrios traveled over two-and-a-half hours to meet the victim and arrived in Snow Hill and was taken into custody. He was charged with two counts of sexual solicitation of a minor, child pornography promotion and distribution, possession of child pornography and identity fraud, the latter for allegedly using a false Social Security number.

During a subsequent interview, Ochoa-Barrios admitted to having a sexual interest in young females and to downloading and having child pornography on his cell phone and on a tablet in his vehicle. He also admitted possessing and using a Social Security number that did not belong to him.

Ochoa-Barrios is classified as a “non-immigrant overstay” and he has been entered into the immigration system. In August, Ochoa-Barrios pleaded guilty to sexual solicitation of a minor, possession and distribution of child pornography and identity fraud. Back in court on Wednesday for sentencing, Ochoa-Barrios was sentenced to 10 years with all but two years suspended for the sexual solicitation of a minor count, and another 10 years with all but two suspended for the possession with intent to distribute child pornography count. As to the identity fraud count for using a false Social Security number, Ochoa-Barrios was sentenced to one year, which was suspended. Ochoa-Barrios was also fined $500 and placed on supervised probation for five years upon his release from jail.

OC Police Officers Answer Excessive Force Lawsuit With Dismissal Request

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City police officers named as defendants in a civil suit filed in July by a Montgomery County man, who alleges he was roughed up during his arrest and subsequent detention, filed a formal answer in the case seeking to have it dismissed.

In July, Silver Spring resident John Henry, through his attorney, filed suit in U.S. District Court against various OCPD officers and public safety aides, OCPD Chief Ross Buzzuro and Worcester County alleging he was injured when thrown into a police transport vehicle and injured further when he was handled roughly at the Public Safety Building for processing and detention. This week, the named OCPD defendants filed a formal answer to the suit seeking to have it dismissed for a variety reasons.

In the formal answer filed this week, the OCPD defendants deny they committed the wrongs against Henry spelled out in the complaint and assert they are not guilty as alleged. Among the defendants’ affirmative defenses is the assertion the plaintiff is guilty of contributory negligence and guilty of the assumption of risk. The OCPD officers’ formal answer seeking a dismissal also asserts the defendants have governmental immunity and qualified immunity under law.

The complaint alleges OCPD officers first encountered Henry on Aug. 4, 2013 near the corner of 9th Street and Edgewater Avenue The OCPD officers met with an admittedly intoxicated Henry and told him to move on. However, the complaint alleges despite following the officers’ orders, he was taken into custody, thrown into a police transport van with excessive force, was not secured with any belt and was subjected to a constant battering to his face and body during his entire trip to the intake facility and holding cell.

According to the complaint, once at the Public Safety Building, Henry was allegedly thrown face first into a cinderblock interior wall in a cell, suffering further injury that ultimately led to his transport to Shock Trauma in Baltimore. It’s important to note the alleged rough handling of prisoners by overzealous police officers has been a recurring theme in recent months in Maryland and across the country.

It’s also important to note, while Henry throughout the complaint maintains he was an innocent victim during the incident, he was ultimately charged with three counts of second-degree assault and resisting arrest. He was convicted of the latter and was sentenced to five days in jail and fined $1,000.

The OCPD officers involved were named as defendants in the federal suit for their individual roles in the alleged rough handling of the plaintiff. Buzzuro was named as a defendant for allegedly failing to train and prepare his officers in the proper handling of an intoxicated prisoner. Oddly, Worcester County was named as a defendant for allegedly being the governmental entity charged with overseeing the OCPD although the county has little or no purview over the department. For that reason, a motion was filed last week to dismiss the county as a defendant although no ruling has been made on that motion.

The suit alleges civil rights violations including unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force and deprivation of liberty among other things. The suit seeks punitive damages against the named defendants in excess of $75,000 and compensatory damages in excess of $75,000.

“The defendants had no adequate training regarding the arrest, investigatory stop or reasonable use of force regarding the detention of an alleged intoxicated individual, despite the fact that Ocean City, Maryland is a well-known vacation spot which promotes, advertises and encourages partying and drinking alcoholic beverages by its tourists at its various business establishments, which results in hundreds of arrests, detentions and seizures annually,” the complaint reads.

Again, it’s important to note while the plaintiff asserts he was innocent and followed the officers’ orders, he was charged with assault and ultimately convicted of resisting arrest and sentenced to jail time. Nonetheless, the complaint alleges a continued pattern of mishandling intoxicated suspects in a resort town that welcomes the behavior.

“This pattern of treating visitors, who often are invited to relax and enjoy the alcohol available at local taverns, with force so great as that in this case can and does lead to permanent injury and is endemic and should not be tolerated,” the complaint reads.

According to the complaint, “the excessive force in the warrantless stop set into motion the chain of events that led to an unauthorized and warrantless illegal search and seizure and the use of excessive force by the defendants caused the plaintiff to be further detained and physically injured, suffer pain and suffering, mental anguish and distress and permanent impairment in violation of the plaintiff’s rights under the Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.”

County Toughens Nuisance Law

SNOW HILL – In an effort to more quickly address nuisance properties in Worcester County, officials agreed this week to cut the time homeowners have to address violations.

The Worcester County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to shorten the time property owners have to abate a nuisance from 30 days to 15 days.

“To me it’s just as much a crime if somebody went over and actually did damage to your property versus what they’re piling up next door,” Commissioner Merrill Lockfaw said. “It’s no difference the damage that’s being done.”

County staff spent the summer taking a close look at the county’s nuisance abatement laws at the request of the commissioners, who were concerned that the process wasn’t addressing concerns quickly enough. Ed Tudor, the county’s director of development review and permitting, said Tuesday that the county’s laws were sufficient but that staff struggled to keep up with the number and variety of issues encountered. Currently, staff only responds to properties about which complaints have been made.

“The ordinance is actually pretty good,” Tudor said. “The problem is in getting something done out there. You run into all different types of circumstances. It really gets messy.”

Sometimes, he said, it’s hard to determine who owns a nuisance property, as foreclosures mean banks from anywhere in the country could be in control. Other times, a problem like a junk-filled yard is addressed only to have the property owner recreate the mess. Hoarders, Tudor said, tended to be habitual offenders.

“They don’t’ view things in the same light we do,” he said.

If property owners fail to address an issue after county employees bring it to their attention, the county can eventually do the work itself. In those situations, however, it’s a struggle to recover the money spent.

“This is money we’re laying out and in most cases will probably not get back,” Tudor said.

He said it was also difficult to find county staff who could perform the work, as Worcester County Public Works had limited resources. In most cases contractors have to be hired.

Commissioner Bud Church said he thought the county’s number of nuisance properties would only increase as homes continued to go into foreclosure.

“Something needs to be done,” he said. “The problem seems to be getting worse.”

Lockfaw agreed. He said the county had been too liberal with the amount of time it gave residents in the past to address a problem.

“It’s decreasing the value of the next door neighbor’s property,” he said. “I think we have to be more aggressive.”

Tudor said if officials wanted to do that they’d have to be willing to pay for contractors to do things like cut tall grass and clean up debris. He said they’d also have to stick to the 15-day policy in spite of pleas from property owners.

“You have to have the resolve in those cases to stick with it,” he said.

1st South Conference Golf Match In The Books

BERLIN- The Bayside South varsity golf season got underway this week with James M. Bennett taking the first match of the year at the Newport Course at the Ocean City Golf Club on Tuesday afternoon.

Bennett shot a team-low 170, led by Ayden Whitehead’s individual low score of 38. Worcester Prep was second with a 173 team score. Decatur finished third with a team score of 174, led by a 38 by Matt Kristick, which earned the Seahawk standout the co-medalist award for the first match.

After one match, Kristick and Whitehead lead the South Conference standings with matching 38s. Worcester’s Cook and Parkside’s Jakob Keidel are tied for second with matching scores of 40, while Bennett’s Anna Malone and Decatur’s Matt Kinsey are tied for third with scores of 41. Rounding out the top 10 after week one are Adam Workman of Bennett and Austin Taylor of Worcester Prep with scores of 43, and Ethan Taylor of Pocomoke, John Meakin of Worcester and Jon Ruddo of Worcester with 45s.

Open Houses Of The Week



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Ryan Homes




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Eleven 11 Edgewater

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Atlantis #1109

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12641 Balte Road

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OC Berlin Rotary Club President And Treasure Present Club’s Banner To Manshaqe Latidi

Community D

Ocean City Berlin Rotary Club President Arlan Kinney and Treasurer Margaret Mudron present Manshaqe Latidi with the club’s banner. Latidi is a member of the Rotoract Club in Kosovo and is working in Ocean City for the summer. The Ocean City/Berlin Rotary Club meetings are held on Wednesdays at 6 p,m. at the Captain’s Table Restaurant.

The Resorter … Revisited

06-06 Resorter A

Summer of 1965

Volume IX

Edition 6


Issue Highlights


This week’s “Resorter Girl” was Terri Steele, who was also featured in Hess Apparel’s full-page ad.


New at Frontier Town this year was a prairie dog colony, a wooded picnic area and U-Driv-Em goat carts.


In the column, “Then I Wrote,” the Editor wrote, “One of the liveliest and happiest places in Ocean City is strangely enough the waiting room of Doc Townsend’s office. Here one listens to grandmothers talk of their children, farmers talk of their crops, hunters talk of the coming duck season and businessmen talk of the past summer’s crowds.”


New this year at the Majestic Hotel on 7th Street and the Boardwalk was a guest swimming pool, according to manager W.C. Savage.


In his City Hall report, Councilman C.H. Shuey wrote, “I have talked with dozens of business people from apartment house owners to restaurant operators. Without exception they are doing better this year than ever before — even in the fact of all the new construction — and hence increased competition — this year. I noticed many Quebec cars, Ohio cars, New Jersey cars, even Montana, Texas, and Wisconsin license plates are not uncommon.”



Thoughts From The Publisher’s Desk


Extensions of big brother’s reach generally deserve scorn, but I think the license plate readers at the Routes 50 and 90 entrances to Ocean City and soon to be at Route 1 at the state line are obvious exceptions.

This technology is a wise investment, particularly in a transient area like Ocean City. Look no further than last week’s arrest of a fugitive and the apprehension of suspects in a stolen vehicle as evidence that it’s a new crime fighting tool.

The new reader set to be added at the Maryland-Delaware line is being heralded as a way to stop heroin from being transported over state lines. While time will tell if that turns out to be true with arrests and drug seizures, it’s nice to know all of the resort’s entry points are being actively monitored.


The Fenwick Town Council has a significant decision to make later this month in regards to the future of the Sands Motel property on Route 1. The property was recently sold and the new owner wants to demolish it and build a 78-room hotel compared to the currently allowed 39, but he needs a code change to make that happen.

Current law says only one room per 1,000 square feet is permitted, and the developer is seeking one room per 500 square feet. The Charter and Ordinance Committee opined one room per 600 square feet is acceptable, but the council will have the final say.

This is a serious matter before the council, but it would be unfair to the applicant — developer Spiro Buas — to reject his specific request out of fear of what could come down the line years from now if other properties change hands. The ordinance can be specifically tailored to allow for case-by-case reviews to address concerns that Fenwick will become commercialized like Ocean City with this change. Safeguards can be put in place to ensure the integrity of the Route 1 corridor through Fenwick is protected.

There is a potential major property reinvestment opportunity here and the town’s businesses and nearby property owners would all benefit by seeing this property upgraded.

Change is tough, but this is not a situation where one decision will lead to nothing but franchise hotels in Fenwick. This is a specific case of a wise reinvestment in a property that needs upgrading. To make that happen, more rooms are needed to bring in more revenue to help pay for the major infrastructure investment.


The City Manager application process has finally begun in Ocean City.

Last month Slavin Management Consultants indicated the city manager search process, estimated to cost about $22,000, should be completed by the end of this year. That’s ambitious in my opinion given the slow start to the effort. I think it will be early spring before David Recor’s replacement is at City Hall.

After selecting Slavin, the second step of the process was posting the job vacancy. The deadline for interested candidates has been posted as Oct. 2. To be considered, a candidate’s packet must include a letter of application, detailed resume, salary history and five work-related references.

The job was posted Thursday and it read in part, “The Mayor and Council of Ocean City, Maryland, one of the East Coast’s premier seashore resort communities, invites applications from qualified candidates for the position of City Manager. Ocean City, with a year round population of 7,100 and a summer population which grows to 335,000 during peak periods operates under the Council-Manager form of government … The City Manager, appointed by the Council, manages the daily operations of the Town, develops the Town’s annual budget request, implements Council approved policies and serves as the Town’s chief financial officer. … operates with an adopted FY 2016 total budget of $124 million and a full-time staff of 533 that grows to 1,400 during peak summer periods.”

The most notable piece in that post was the claim that the summer time population surges to 335,000, which must have come from the demoflush calculation that was supposedly never being used again.


If you haven’t seen the video of the wild horse kicking a lifeguard on Assateague, be sure to check it out. It underscores the safety warning to never stand behind a horse as well as not interacting too closely with the wild animals. You can see it on our Facebook page. It’s okay to laugh because the lifeguard was uninjured.


Every time I go to the beach in Ocean City I’m always interested in observing the smoking situation.

By and large, the new smoking restrictions are not being adhered to by the majority. Most people just light up in their chairs as they have always done. Whether it’s an intentional snub to the designated smoking sites or simply being unaware of the orange barrel at the street end is unclear.

Last Saturday the paper law nature of the new smoking restrictions on the beach was evident. A couple waded into the ocean each smoking cigarettes. The woman stayed in the knee deep area smoking while the man went past the breakers with cigarette in tow. He eventually tossed the cigarette directly into the ocean before diving under a wave. The woman put her out in the ocean and then carried it back to her area. It was a disgusting sight.

In the interest of fairness, it was nice to see three women standing around an orange receptacle smoking that same day. That was the only group I saw, however.

Discretion Critical With Auto Events’ Ordinances


Ocean City’s proposed ordinances — reactions to concerns over disturbing antics at recent automobile events — are intentionally heavy handed. They can be successful if the proper judgment and discretion is used by the Ocean City Police Department.

The proposed ordinances make drinking alcohol from open containers illegal on private business lots, extend the summer-time ban on trailer parking on city streets to the spring and fall months and crack down on common public nuisances, such as groups gathering in parking areas for unauthorized uses and being destructive to private and public property.

The Mayor and Council is right to move forward with these ordinances and the changes will be in place in time for the H2O International and Cruisin’ events next month, but we understand the concerns from the business community. There appears to be two major beefs with the city’s direction.

One is the current laws on the books are not being enforced as it is — such as public consumption on alcohol and robust littering on the sidewalk along Coastal Highway during these automotive events — and how is adding new ordinances going to bring about the calm and better behavior that’s sought by the majority of people.

Secondly, there is the public relations impact of whether these changes will result in negative emotions from the auto events’ attendees who have good intentions when visiting. One hotelier reported this week he will lose 90 room bookings at one of his properties if the changes are approved as expected. It’s feared a major economic backlash will occur once word spreads about the new laws.

We believe overall the loss of sales will not be serious as a result of a few changes aimed at heightening peace and order.  These ordinances should not deter people from coming here. In fact, it may do more to keep people from staying away from Ocean City on these weekends over the long run.

Nonetheless, we believe the business community expressed logical fears this week that these ordinances will send the wrong message to their customers, the event attendees, and that more law enforcement is needed to address the laws already in place. Adding these new ordinances will only put more of a focus on the importance of proper police resources during these weekends when the crowds balloon.

As when any new laws are approved, the enforcement component must be there and that has simply not been the case because police have been overwhelmed to extreme levels during these events.

Rather than the new laws, a more significant concern we have with these events approaching in October is an adequate police presence. That in the end will go a lot further than these new ordinances, which if handled the right way by the individual businesses if and when customer concerns are expressed should be an overall benefit.

There is a certain amount of police discretion built into these ordinances and it’s the troublemakers — those individuals pouring beer on the roadways to encourage spinouts, for example — that are being targeted. Most rational visitors will understand that and we believe a majority will embrace the city’s efforts.

Musicians Tapped For Salisbury’s 1st Saturday Event

SALISBURY – 1st Saturday returns to the steps of the Government Office Building this Labor Day weekend with two talented groups of musicians.

Sponsored by the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District, 1st Saturday’s Sept. 5 event, held on North Division Street, will feature The Jesters, a local six-piece alternative rock band with Tyler Brunner on lead vocals, Luis Gomez on guitar, Zach Simms also on guitar, Drew Flinn on bass, Kevin Flinn on drums and Connor Bailey on keys.

This month’s intermission performance is the students of the Academy of Music Performance (AMP), a school that teaches rock music to kids between the ages of 10 and 18 and operates out of Headquarters Live.

The Jesters will play from 4 to 7 p.m. AMP will play during the set break, from 5:30 to 6 p.m.

“We’ve got a great show planned for our return to North Division Street,” said Sarah Rayne, co-chair of the 1st Saturday Committee. “We are so grateful to our friends at Headquarters Live for hosting our event during the exceptionally rainy summer. But it’s time to once again put a rock band on the steps of the GOB. Let’s all hope for great weather.”

Be sure to browse the 1st Saturday Art Market and stay hydrated with free water compliments of Roadie Joe’s Bar & Grill. The Salisbury Zoo will be on hand with educational information and a few critters. Also, the group trying to build restrooms at Ben’s Red Swings will set up during 1st Saturday to distribute information and collect donations.

This month’s charity drive is for the Humane Society of Wicomico County. They need peanut butter, cleaning supplies and canned cat/kitten and dog/puppy food. Drop off a donation at the 1st Saturday table and receive a waterproof sticker for your car.

“This will be the last month of this season that we’ll be collecting for the Humane Society, and we really want to deliver a significant amount of donations this time,” Rayne said. “Let’s show the Humane Society that we appreciate everything they do for the homeless animals of Wicomico County.”

When 1st Saturday ends, attendees are encouraged to stay downtown and browse the shops and have dinner or grab a drink at one of the locally-owned and operated restaurants, or check out other music events happening that night.

North Division Street between Main and Church streets will be closed to traffic between 2 and 8 p.m. The area will still be accessible to pedestrians. Plenty of free parking will be available in the parking garage and in Parking Lot 1 in between the library and WMDT.

In April 2007, Maryland granted Salisbury an Arts & Entertainment District designation, bringing additional tax and financial benefits to certain arts and entertainment related businesses and investments. The A&E designation is another tool to encourage individuals and businesses to become part of the renaissance underway in this charming historic community. The district is overseen by a committee of local, committed volunteers who spearhead downtown arts events such as the highly successful 3rd Friday, 1st Saturday, and Park & Flea, among others.

1st Saturday provides a free, family-friendly experience for locals while also promoting local business, tourism growth, and community involvement through music and celebration. The event is an all-volunteer effort, a downtown economic development initiative and a project of the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District Committee.