- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A past president and lifetime member of the Solomons Volunteer Rescue Squad and Fire Department was arrested June 14 for allegedly inappropriately touching himself in front of a 12-year-old girl.
Michael F. Phifer, 55, of Lusby has been charged with sexual abuse of a minor and indecent exposure.
The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office was contacted May 17 in reference to a report of child sexual abuse at a Lusby home, according to court records. Detectives wrote in charging documents a 12-year-old girl was alleging Phifer had touched himself inappropriately while standing in front of her.
When detectives arrived at the house, they learned Phifer had already left to go to work. Detectives contacted Phifer, “provided no details related to this investigation, and suggested that Phifer remain in the area” until deputies could talk to him, charging documents state.
The 12-year-old girl had sent a text message to her 18-year-old sister May 16 stating that “something terrible had just happened and she needed to get away,” detectives said in court records. The girl then told her sister Phifer stood in front of her and started inappropriately touching himself.
Detectives then contacted Phifer, who was still in his vehicle on his way to work. Phifer asked why police officers were in the area and “asked what was going on,” charging documents state. He said he needed to go to work, so detectives “verified some quick contact and descriptive information,” when Phifer “started making unsolicited comments.” Phifer allegedly said he was “walking around the” residence and may have woken the victim up at some point, charging documents state.
Phifer agreed to meet detectives at the sheriff’s office May 17. After “knowingly and intelligently” waiving his Miranda rights, charging documents state, he allegedly said he was “pissed off by the whole situation.”
Phifer told detectives he was walking around the Lusby residence “to clear his head” and saw the victim’s dog sleeping near the victim. He said the “dog barks at every noise so he tried to get the dog’s attention so the dog could see who was moving” and would not bark, according to charging documents. Phifer allegedly began waving his left arm to get the dog’s attention but was unsuccessful in waking the dog up, “but apparently woke up” the 12-year-old girl, charging documents state.
Detectives said Phifer told them he then walked away but went back to where the dog was sleeping to try to get the dog’s attention by waving his arm. “Once again,” charging documents state, Phifer “got [the victim’s] attention” but not the dog’s, and Phifer walked away.
According to charging documents, detectives asked Phifer why he would try to wake the dog, and Phifer “had some trouble justifying the repeated efforts.”
During the interview, Phifer allegedly asked detectives what the possible penalties for committing the alleged violation were and stated “that maybe a ‘freak’ event or ‘mistake’ did in fact occur,” according to charging documents. Detectives said Phifer asked several times to talk “off the record,” but detectives declined to do so.
Detectives said they also learned the victim’s 18-year-old sister and another girl had been allegedly “victimized in a similar way” when they were between 15 and 16 years old. Detectives said they asked Phifer about this, but he “could not recall the allegations.” Detectives then expressed “concern about his inability to recall or discuss the circumstances” related to those allegations, to which Phifer allegedly replied that he had “put that ‘behind him,’” charging documents state.
Phifer was the president of the Solomons VFD from 1992 to 1993 and in 2009, according to the department’s website, and is a lifetime member.
Phifer was released from the Calvert County Detention Center on June 15 after posting a $75,000 bond.