Deputy Charged With Assault, Child Abuse

SNOW HILL — A Worcester County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with assault and child abuse stemming from an alleged incident in mid-June.

An investigation led to the arrest this week of Christopher M. Barrs, 39, of Newark. Barrs is employed as a deputy with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and has been suspended pending the outcome of the criminal proceeding.

In mid-June, Maryland State Police (MSP) detectives began an investigation in cooperation with Child Protective Services from Somerset County into allegations of an assault allegedly involving Barrs and the victim, identified as a teenage female.

The victim was known to Barrs, according to police reports, and the alleged assault occurred during an argument between the pair. The investigation led to an application for charges against Barrs including second-degree assault and child abuse.

An arrest warrant was issued on Tuesday by the District Court Commissioner’s Office, and Barrs was taken into custody at his residence without incident. Barrs was taken before a District Court Commissioner and was ordered to be held on a $15,00 unsecured personal bond. A preliminary hearing has been set for July 30.

Worcester County Sheriff Matt Crisafulli did not elaborate on the case, but issued a statement on Wednesday standing by the investigation and Barrs’ subsequent arrest.

“I take these charges very seriously and I applaud the diligence and care taken by both the Maryland State Police and the Department of Social Services,” he said. “It’s important that everyone knows the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office values transparency and sharing critical information with the public. While I cannot comment further as it could jeopardize the investigation, I fully believe that the community deserves to know when a member of this agency has been charged with a crime.”

Barrs was hired in December 2010 and was serving as a part-time deputy assigned to the civil division at the time the investigation began. His police powers were suspended June 13 and remain suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation and criminal proceedings.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.