A Virginia cop and his wife are both facing criminal charges after she secretly recorded him to prove he was having an affair—and accidentally captured what might be key information in a felony trial.
Sharon Maddox, 41, admitted in a bond hearing Wednesday to bugging her husband, Chesapeake Police officer Sean Maddox, after she became concerned he was cheating on her last April. She told local news outlet 10 On Your Side that she surreptitiously placed a recording device in his squad car for three days after finding a blonde hair in his car and some suspicious activity on his Facebook.
According to her lawyer, Kristin Paulding, the tape confirmed what Sharon suspected: that her husband was sleeping with a local 911 dispatcher. The recording might have remained secret forever if the dispatcher hadn’t accused Sean Maddox weeks later of abducting and raping her on April 27—the day after his wife put the recording device in his car.
On June 1, Maddox was arrested on charges including abduction, rape, and sodomy. Sharon’s lawyer said she willingly handed over her recordings to her husband’s defense attorney after he was arrested, in an attempt to prove his innocence. When Chesapeake police started questioning Sharon about the recordings, Paulding said, she thought they were looking for evidence against him. Instead, they charged her this week with wiretapping for making the secret tape.
“She was definitely a little blindsided by it because she didn’t know they were actually investigating her,” Paulding said. “She believed they wanted the recording to help with the case against her husband, which was already going forward.”
Maddox is a 13-year veteran of the Chesapeake Police Department, where he served as a lieutenant before losing his job over the charges. According to the 911 dispatcher’s court testimony, the two began having an affair in January of last year, which quickly progressed to them having sex at least once a week. By April, however, the dispatcher said, she had grown suspicious that the officer was not going to leave his wife, and she began thinking about ending the relationship.
On April 26, she claims, Sean Maddox gave her $100 cash to book a hotel room and ordered her to meet him there that night, as they often did. The dispatcher claims she booked the hotel room, but went on a date with another police officer instead—during which time she claims Maddox called and texted her 25 times.
On her drive home early that morning, she claims, she was pulled over by a Chesapeake patrol car, which turned out to be Maddox. She claims he threatened to charge her with a fake offense and forced her to go to the hotel, where he proceeded to rape her orally, anally, and vaginally. She also says he filmed parts of the encounter and threatened to send it to anyone else she tried to date.
Days later, according to an arrest warrant obtained by 13 News Now, Maddox texted her to say that she had “no idea how hard I had to try to control myself and not do bad things,” later clarifying: “To you, a lot of things, hurt you.”
“And it’s still an option,’ he allegedly added. “Keep your head on a swivel.”
Maddox’s defense attorneys paint a different version of events, claiming the dispatcher was a scorned lover who turned on the officer when he refused to leave his wife. They claimed at the hearing that she sent multiple text messages in the days after the alleged assault saying she loved him and wanted to be with him, and accusing him of “ghosting” her when he did not respond. (The woman said she did not recall sending those messages at that time.)
In a statement to The Daily Beast, attorney Taite Westendorf called the case a “real life example of Fatal Attraction” and said the woman had “admitted to being in love with Mr. Maddox and becoming emotionally unstable when he refused to leave his family for her.”
“Mr. Maddox is absolutely innocent of all charges and looks forward to a jury of his peers exercising the common sense that has been sorely missing from the government’s approach to this case,” he said.
Sharon Maddox’s attorney, meanwhile, says she cannot understand why police would pursue charges against the veteran Animal Control sergeant when neither her husband nor the dispatcher have requested them.
“She’s just trying to protect her own interests and see if her marriage is falling apart—which in fact it was—and then they turn around and her own employer just kind of sticks it to her,” Paulding said.
Sharon has yet to be indicted but she has lost her job with Animal Control. Maddox is expected to go to trial May 17.
Both Paulding and Westendorf say their clients are supporting each other through their respective trials, though they declined to comment on their current living arrangements. At his bail hearing, Sharon told a judge that Maddox could come back to their family home if he was released, and Paulding said Maddox was in court for her preliminary hearing on Wednesday.
“They’re definitely a unified front in supporting each other in each of their cases,” she said.