Posts in this section were archived prior to February 2010. For more recent posts, go to the HOME PAGE.

Sunday, November 20, 2005                                                                                       View Comments

Saenz charged with assault, resisting arrest

by Warren Parish

The longtime managing director of Community Ministries of Rockville was arrested last month and charged with three counts of second-degree assault and resisting arrest after a disagreement over a refund at the Best Buy on Rockville Pike turned violent, city police reported.

Police hauled Agnes Giovanna Saenz, 41, of Rockville out of the retail store on Sept. 25 after they fought to arrest her, according to the charging document in Montgomery County District Court.

Saying The Gazette had only one side of the story, Saenz said on Tuesday that she retained an attorney who advised her to decline comment until the matter is resolved.

‘‘It’s unfortunate that this happened,” she said, speaking from the Community Ministries offices.

According to the court charging document, Saenz grew irate, threw two MP3 players and a CD player from the counter, striking an employee, when a refund on an MP3 player she brought to the store was refused.

A crowd gathered as Saenz refused to leave the store, repeating her demand for a refund, the document states. Told she was trespassing, she repeatedly refused police requests to leave, according to the charging document.

When a police officer took her right arm to motion her out, she struck him on the face with an open right hand and pushed through an employee en route to the door, the charging document states. The employee fell into a kiosk and bruised her right hip, according to the document.

Saenz ran toward the door before being stopped by two police officers, who were forced to fight her to the ground before she could be placed in custody, according to the charging document.

She was transported to the Central Processing Unit at the county Detention Center in Rockville without further incident, police reported.

In addition to the three counts of second-degree assault and resisting arrest, she is charged with malicious destruction of property under $500, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

A trial date of Nov. 10 is scheduled.

Saenz, along with Development Director Edward Peery, took over as CMR’s interim co-directors in September after Larry Pignone stepped down as interim director. He had replaced the Rev. Mansfield ‘‘Kasey” Kaseman, the longtime executive director who retired earlier this year.

An interfaith, nonprofit social service organization comprised of 20 member congregations, Community Ministries of Rockville offers shelter and permanent housing to the homeless, educational outreach to Latino families, food and home repairs for the elderly, and emergency services for those in crisis.

A native of Costa Rica, Saenz came to America to learn English in 1989. She started with Community Ministries as a volunteer bookkeeper, rising through the ranks to eventually become the managing director.

Her signature accomplishment was helping to found the Latino Outreach Program in 1993. The Community Ministries program helps Hispanic immigrants learn English and workplace skills.


Community Ministries Leader Banned From Best Buy After Violent Tantrum

Rockville, Md. - The managing director of Community Ministries of Rockville has been banned from Best Buy after allegedly assaulting two store employees and a police officer over a refund dispute.

Agnes Giovanna Saenz's banishment is part of a deal she made with prosecutors who agreed not to try her for the alleged altercation. She also has to take anger management classes, perform 60 hours of community service, and repay the store $318.

Police say officers responded to a call from store employees who said Saenz became "upset and irate" when they wouldn't let her return an MP3 player.

Police say she punched an officer who tried to escort her from the store, pushed an employee into a kiosk, and threw two MP3 players and a CD player from the store's counter. They say two officers had to wrestle her to the ground to place her in custody.

Saenz tells the Washington Post that she "experienced crucifixion and resurrection" in the case.