Charges dropped against local mental health workers accused of protecting fugitive

Charges dropped against local mental health workers accused of protecting fugitive

Charges dropped against local mental health workers accused of protecting fugitive

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on February 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 6 at 10:26 AM

(KMOV.com) – St. Charles County prosecutors have dropped charges against two local mental health workers accused of stopping police from arresting a suspect wanted in a string of burglaries and parole violation.

Police in November went to the Bridgeway Behavioral Health Center in St. Charles to 23-year-old Matt Walker, who neighbors say is bi-polar and on medication.

Detectives spotted Walker when they arrived.

“They saw him on the premises, leave the building saw him smoke cigarette and go back into building twice,” said St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar.

Two women who worked at Bridgeway would not allow officers in, saying police needed more than the arrest warrant, and eventually the search warrant, that they produced.

While the dispute was going on, Walker escaped through a back window, but was found and arrested after a brief manhunt.

The two workers cited federal privacy laws and were initially charged with interfering with police. But Lohmar dropped them this week after the facility came up a policy to prevent it from happening again.

Lohmar told News 4 the woman misunderstood federal regulations they were trying to protect, and the workers later acknowledged they were in the wrong.

Officials said when it comes to federal law, patients are protected but fugitives are not.

The center serves about 4,500 people a year dealing with issues from drugs, to domestic violence, to sexual assault.

Walker has yet to be charged in the case. 

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