Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Nethken also faces charges

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Richard J. Lank, a District 6 candidate in the Feb. 12 Democratic primary, said last week that he was surprised by the amount of interest in his arrest and subsequent jail stay over the weekend.

‘‘I am astonished by the press coverage,” he said.

Lank, of Middletown, turned himself in to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Jan. 29 and spent the weekend in the Montgomery County Detention Center. After he paid $2,100 in back child support, a contempt charge was dropped Jan. 28.

Lank is among the five Democratic candidates and five Republican candidates running for Congress in the District 6 primary. According to court records, some of those candidates have been charged with minor traffic violations in the past.

Court records show that candidate Frank L. Nethken (R) of Cumberland most recently appeared in court Jan. 7 regarding charges of trespassing on private property, harassment and making repeated phone calls to the Country Club Mall in Cumberland. The incidents occurred in June and July.

Nethken said Jan. 30 that he is not a criminal.

‘‘The charges were trumped up,” he said. ‘‘I never went into the Country Club Mall. I’ve been cleared and I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Nethken insists he just wanted to shop in the mall, but that the mall refused to allow him. Calls to mall officials and the Allegany District Attorney’s Office were not returned before The Gazette’s press time Jan. 30.

According to a July 10 story in The Cumberland Times News, Long & Foster Real Estate Inc., in Cumberland obtained a peace order against Nethken. He was told to stay away from its offices and the homes of company employees.

District court records show that Nethken allegedly visited the office on numerous occasions in June and July of last year, even after being told not to return, the story stated.

A different peace order was obtained against Nethken ordering him to have no contact with a woman who works at the Cumberland hospital, the newspaper reported.

Nethken said the charges go against his strong Christian beliefs. ‘‘I’ve never forced myself on anybody,” he said. ‘‘Kids love me. I have Jesus in me.”