Prince Frederick, MD – The Calvert County State’s Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday, Sept. 1 that drug charges filed May 31 against a Baltimore woman who had been in the county to attend the peaceful protest of a controversial construction project will be dropped.

On Sunday, May 30, Kaitlyn Anne Rorke, 29, was charged with two counts of controlled dangerous substance (CDS) possession after the vehicle she was traveling in was stopped by a Calvert County Sheriff’s Office deputy on Cove Point Road in Lusby.

Rorke and several others had been in the Lusby area that weekend to participate in a march to protest the multi-billion dollar construction of a liquefaction unit at Dominion Cove Point Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Plant. The march, which was well-publicized and included a police presence, was held without incident.

The following day, Rorke and several other marchers, traveling in vehicles with out-of-state license tags, drove to Cove Point Beach with the intention of walking on the community’s private beach.

Calvert County Sheriff’s Office Captain Steve Jones told The BayNet the vehicles were “driving around aimlessly,” prompting deputies to conduct the traffic stop.
Searches of both vehicles were conducted, yielding a pill bottle containing prescription medications. Rorke admitted the pills were hers. She was arrested and charged when she was unable to verify at the scene that the pills had been prescribed to her. She was released that day and a hearing on the matter was scheduled for Friday, Sept. 4 in District Court in Prince Frederick.

Calvert County Assistant State’s Attorney Andrew Rappaport told The BayNet that a request for dismissal of the charges was filed with the court Aug. 31. Rappaport said his office “chose to dismiss the case.”

Rappaport said he could not discuss the reasons for dropping the charges but did confirm it was not related to any conduct issues regarding the deputies involved in the May 31 traffic stop.

During the June 9 meeting of the Calvert County Commissioners, Cove Point Beach resident Leslie Garcia stated she was the homeowner hosting the group and permitting them to have access to the beach. Garcia claimed the deputies were dressed in “SWAT team” uniforms. Other witnesses at the traffic stop stated the deputies wore badges attached to lanyards indicating they were working for Dominion and the company’s head of security showed up at the scene, even though the stop did not occur on Dominion property.

Jones stated the deputies wear the company’s badges to allow them access to the plant for security reasons.

“They [police] knew they [plant project protesters] were coming,” said Garcia, who labeled the sheriff’s office/Dominion alliance as “corporate/government collusion.”

According to project protester Kevin B. Zeese, the deputies who made the traffic stop “were looking for something to pin on two cars of people who were obviously against the export terminal project. The medicine issue is what they found and they very unnecessarily arrested Kate on the spot, even after she offered to provide them with proof of her prescriptions through a variety of means.”

Jones told The BayNet Sept. 2, “I guess it comes down to was it a lawful charge. It was a lawful charge on the part of the police officers.”

Several efforts to reach Rorke’s attorney, Mark Goldstone, had not been successful as this story was being filed. 

On Tuesday, Aug. 18, 40 opponents of the liquefaction project did conduct an early-evening, incident-free protest on Cove Point Beach. Organizer Tracey Eno of Calvert Citizens for a Healthy Community contacted Jones ahead of time regarding the planned demonstration. No deputies were in the area during the demonstration.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com