Domestic violence charge dropped
Other charge reduced; pleads no contest
The alleged victim in a domestic violence case against Lawrence County Commissioner Les Boggs declined to pursue charges Thursday during a preliminary hearing in Ironton Municipal Court.
Boggs, 53, appeared in front of specially-appointed judge Richard Schisler for the hearing, where the first-degree misdemeanor charge was dismissed.
Boggs also carried a criminal damaging charge, although that charge was reduced to disorderly conduct by the state, represented by special prosecutor Charles Kirby, to which Boggs pleaded no contest. Schisler ordered Boggs to pay a fine of $200, plus court costs.
According to the initial complaint to the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, on Nov. 4, Boggs allegedly grabbed the suspect’s arm, pushed her on the bed and attempted to choke her following an argument. The 34-year-old alleged victim also reported that Boggs allegedly to backhanded her in the face and threw her cell phone in a pond in front of the residence.
“I can assure that the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office did not rush to judgment,” Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless said in a statement. “When my officer met with the alleged victim, she claimed she had been assaulted and choked by Mr. Boggs. The deputy did view red marks on her face, throat and arm. Based on the domestic violence law, my deputy acted accordingly to make the arrest based on her first statement and marks on her that he viewed.”
Boggs pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Nov. 19 and on Thursday, the alleged victim expressed her wish to dismiss the first degree misdemeanor, which was granted by the court.
After the hearing, a statement was released by Boggs as follows.
“I am greatly relieved that the charges, as filed against me, were dismissed today. I am especially grateful for the dismissal of the domestic violence charge as I have never committed an act of violence against anyone.
“There was an argument in my home as happens in all families. I thought it best for the sake of my family and to stop the cycle of negative media attention to plead no contest to a minor misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge – the lowest level of offense.
“I truly appreciate all those who have stood by me through this difficult time and appreciate all the thoughts and prayers extended on behalf of me and my family.
“I believe this incident also serves as a lesson to us all that we should always avoid rushing to judgment before the facts are known. Here in America we are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Unfortunately, my status as an elected official caused it to feel as though that right was not extended to me.
“I also hope this outcome serves as a wakeup call to the political opportunists who attempted to exploit this circumstance for their own benefit.
“I regret this incident ever occurred and have done my best to ensure it did not impact on my official duties. I am honored to serve the citizens of Lawrence County and hope to do so well into the future.”