ANNAPOLIS, Md. – A judge convicted an Annapolis alderman on Thursday of groping a U.S. Naval Academy midshipman in a car in May.
Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul Harris Jr. convicted Alderman Samuel Shropshire of second-degree assault and a fourth-degree sex offense, which are misdemeanors.
Sentencing has been scheduled for February.
Shropshire, a 61-year-old Democrat who ran for mayor of Annapolis but lost the primary in September, was charged in May after he allegedly touched a 21-year-old male midshipman's crotch in a car.
"We're disappointed in the verdict, but we understand the judge's decision," said Gill Cochran, Shropshire's attorney.
Shropshire, who was elected city council alderman in 2005 and whose term expires next week, had sponsored the midshipman under a Naval Academy program designed to give students a break from their studies.
There are about 1,600 sponsors in the Naval Academy program, and all applicants are checked through sex offender and criminal databases. Shropshire was removed from the program when the allegations were made.
According to police, Shropshire and the midshipman were in the car at about 11 p.m. on May 14 when the alderman placed his hand on the man's "crotch and grabbed his genitals" for about 30 seconds.
The midshipman pushed Shropshire's hand away.
After Shropshire again touched his crotch, the midshipman asked him what he was doing and the alderman apologized, the 21-year-old told police.
It's not the first time a sponsor in the academy's program has ended up in court.
In a separate case in Annapolis, a Navy doctor who hosted students at his house was sentenced last year to two years in prison and kicked out of the military for setting up a secret camera to record midshipmen having sex.
Cmdr. Kevin Ronan maintained midshipmen made the tapes to extort money from him.