Baltimore and Racine, Wis., mayors arrested
Two mayors are facing criminal charges this month. Racine, Wis., Mayor Gary Becker was taken into custody Monday on charges that include attempted sexual assault of a child, child enticement and possession of child pornography, while Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted on Jan. 9 on charges of perjury, theft, fraud, misappropriation by a fiduciary, and misconduct in office.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice (WDOJ) released little information about Becker’s indictment apart from listing the charges against him, which also include misconduct in public office, exposing a child to harmful materials, and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. Becker, in his second four-year term, was scheduled to appear in court Thursday, after having been released from jail Wednesday night on $165,000 bail, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Officials with the WDOJ’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force told the Journal-Sentinel that this may be the first time the task force has brought charges against an elected official.
Dixon is accused of taking Target, Best Buy and other retailers’ gift cards, which were supposed to be donated to needy families, and receiving unreported gifts from developers — including an ex-boyfriend — from 2003, when she was city council president, until shortly after her election as Baltimore’s first female mayor in 2007. Maryland State Prosecutor Robert Rohrbaugh said in the indictment that Dixon violated the public trust. “The citizens of Baltimore have every right to expect their public officials will be open and honest and will not use the office for personal motives, gain or greed,” he said.
In a news conference last Friday, Dixon denied the charges. “I am being unfairly accused,” she said, according to the New York Times. “Time will prove that I have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found innocent of these charges.”