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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Story changes, domestic assault charges dropped

Thursday, December 27, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- The husband of a McCook woman cited for domestic assault in July claimed the incident was blown out of proportion and merely the result of a sexual encounter the two were participating in. Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood subsequently dismissed the charge against the woman.

The woman, 43-year-old Penny L. Sullivan of 308 E. Third Street, was cited by McCook police officers who were responding to a report of a disturbance at the Sullivan residence. According to the Police Department, John Sullivan told responding officers that he had been bitten several times and struck in the head with a telephone by his wife, Penny Sullivan. Both individuals admitted to being intoxicated at the time, but neither made mention of any sexual activity.

Penny Sullivan was cited with a Class I misdemeanor offense of third degree domestic assault, Red Willow County Attorney Paul Wood subsequently pursued a Class I misdemeanor charge of third degree assault against her.

She was subsequently assigned a public defender on Sept. 4, 2012. According to court documents she failed to appear for a Sept. 11 hearing in the case, claiming she was sick and couldn't get in touch with her attorney. She also failed to appear for a second hearing in the case, on Sept. 18, prompting the court to issue a bench warrant for her arrest.

Sullvan was assigned a new public defender on Sept. 25, she pleaded not guilty to the charge and the warrant for her arrest was recalled.

John Sullivan was served a subpoena to appear in court on Oct. 10 and on Oct. 11 a letter from him downplaying the incident was filed with the courts.

The letter claimed the couple were engaged in "sexual relations" when the police arrived next door regarding the eviction of their neighbor. "While having relations my wife bit my chest. The officer asked what happened and then issued a citation to my wife. This was not done during any fighting and certainly not an intended assault," said Mr. Sullivan in the letter, asking the charge be dropped.

The charge against Mrs. Sullivan was subsequently dismissed by Wood on Nov. 6, 2012.

According to the Chief of Police Isaac Brown, domestic disturbance calls frequently result in the reporting and/or injured parties changing their stories after the fact and desiring not to prosecute their intimate partner.

"Unfortunately that often enables the violent party and leads to further and greater violence," said Brown.

The McCook Police Department policy is to cite or arrest the alleged offender in domestic violence incidents, when there is evidence of criminal behavior resulting in injury and a principal offender or aggressor is identified.

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