The lawsuit brought by a former Loudoun detective accusing Sheriff Michael Chapman of “malicious and callous abuse of his status and authority” and political retaliation has been moved to federal court.
Mark McCaffrey, now an investigator in the Winchester public defender’s office, filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against Chapman, Loudoun County, and the Board of Supervisors in Loudoun Circuit Court on July 27. On Monday, Chapman’s attorneys asked that the case be moved to federal district court.
Attorneys and spokesman for the county, the sheriff, and McCaffrey offered no comment.
“This legal matter must play out in court and not publicly,” said county spokesman Glen Barbour.
The lawsuit alleges Chapman violated McCaffrey’s constitutional right to free speech by not re-swearing him after McCaffrey supported a different candidate in a Republican primary for sheriff. At the time, McCaffrey was the lead investigator in the ongoing case of Braulio M. Castillo, one of Loudoun’s most high-profile murder cases in recent years. Following the firing, McCaffrey was hired by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to serve through the trial, which resulted in a guilty verdict and a life sentence.
Chapman described the lawsuit as “a reprised chronicle of false allegations, conjecture, innuendo and/or grossly exaggerated stories” in a statement shortly after the lawsuit was filed.
As a constitutional officer, Chapman is represented separately from the county government and Board of Supervisors in the case. A request for comment to his attorney has not yet been returned.