CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — A visiting judge Wednesday morning certified to the grand jury a felony wiretapping charge against Sharon Maddox, 41, the wife of former Chesapeake, Virginia police Lt. Sean Maddox.
Sharon Maddox is currently suspended without pay from her position as a sergeant with Animal Control. She is charged with illegally recording conversations between her husband and a police dispatcher. The dispatcher filed rape, sodomy, abduction, and other charges against Sean Maddox. Maddox is free on bond awaiting trial, but lost his position with the police department following the charges.
Sharon Maddox and her attorney spoke with sister station WAVY following her preliminary hearing. She admits to purchasing a voice-activated audio recorder when she got suspicious of her husband last spring.
“There was actually blonde hair that I found and saw in [her husband’s police car]. There was some stuff on Facebook posted that alerted me to something that wouldn’t be normal for him,” she said.
Sharon Maddox then said she placed the recorder in the back seat of the cruiser, where it remained for three days, April 26-28.
“It did confirm at one point that the girl got into the car with her husband and so that was the confirmation that Sharon really needed,” said her defense attorney Kristin Paulding.
But neither Sean Maddox nor his girlfriend knew of or consented to the recordings. Under Virginia law, at least one party to a conversation must consent.
About five weeks later, Sean Maddox was arrested for rape, sodomy, abduction, and other offenses on charges brought by the dispatcher girlfriend. The offense date for several of the charges was April 27 — coincident with when their conversations were being recorded.
Shortly after his arrest, Sharon Maddox revealed the recordings to her husband and his defense attorney, with the intention of helping his defense by showing that the girlfriend was still willing to continue the relationship at the time she was alleging the crimes.
Police became aware of the recordings at Sean Maddox’s bond hearing, and on June 24 went to the couple’s Great Bridge home with a warrant to search for the recorder and the audio files. According to a document obtained from Sharon Maddox resulting from a Freedom of Information Act request, a total of 23 Chesapeake officers were present for the execution of the search warrant.
As officers searched her home, Sharon Maddox left work. She arrived at her residence in her city animal control vehicle. Detectives then searched that vehicle over her objections, saying it was city property and she had no expectation of privacy.
But her attorney says in a case like this, that concept cuts both ways.
“If there’s no right to privacy in her car, then her husband had no right to privacy in his police car. And then he doesn’t have the benefit of saying, ‘My conversations were protected,'” Paulding said.
Detectives questioned Sharon Maddox and she admitted to the recordings, and she’s now charged with felony wiretapping. But her attorney says they had never read her her rights.
“She’s a law enforcement officer. Why didn’t they have the courtesy to say to her, ‘Here’s your Miranda rights. We’re investigating, do you want a lawyer, do you want to stay silent?’ And they didn’t. They kept talking to her for over an hour, and so I have a problem with that,” Paulding said.
Sharon Maddox says she’s been living a nightmare but says she must work with her husband to support their two children.
The trial for Sean Maddox is set for May 17. His attorney told 10 On Your Side in September that evidence shows the alleged victim was “a scorned lover” and that he and his client are “extremely confident when all the facts come out and common sense prevails that he is going to be found not guilty of all charges.”