Union County Prosecutor Dave Phillips is encouraging residents who see a dangerous domestic situation to call 911 and anyone in a dangerous domestic situation to get help.
“There are resources available,” Phillips said. “If you are in an abusive relationship, there is help available.”
He said law enforcement officials are better trained and “much, much more attuned to deal with domestic violence than in years past.”
Phillips said local crime victim advocates deal with domestic violence on a near daily basis. He said they are able to work within and outside the court system to get help and protection for a victim, even if that victim does not want to press charges.
While encouraging victims to seek help, Phillips said he knows that many victims feel like they can’t.
“Often times the woman is in a situation where she may feel stuck and it is difficult for them to seek help,” Phillips said.
He said that often there are warning signs for friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. Phillips said domestic violence most often is not a single event but a pattern of behavior that gets progressively more violent.
“If you see something, say something. If you hear something, say something,” Phillips said. “Domestic violence isn’t something that should just be ignored.”
The prosecutor said domestic violence is not a family issue to be dealt with internally.
“This isn’t just a family matter, it is a legal mater and it can be a lethal matter,” Phillips said. “And unfortunately, children are often witnesses to these crimes and that creates a cycle. We need to break that cycle.”
Phillips said it takes courage for someone to call the police if they suspect domestic violence, but don’t have any proof.
“If you think something is going on, let the police investigate,” Phillips said. “You might be saving someone’s life.”
The prosecutor explained that a neighbor, willing to get involved lead to one of the several recent domestic violence indictments.
The Union County Grand Jury recently indicted Zachary Ryan Clark, 28, of 68 Red Pine Drive. Clark is charged with one count each of domestic violence felonious assault and abduction. If convicted on all charges, Clark could face as many as 14 and half years in prison.
According to court documents, Sept. 23, Clark and the victim began arguing that the woman did not make enough money.
The argument allegedly turned physical. According to court documents, the victim said Clark “stomped” on her heard, neck and chest.
The woman went to the window and tried to signal for help.
“He allegedly grabbed her, preventing her and pulled her away from the window,” Phillips said.
The neighbor however saw the woman and called 9-1-1 and said her neighbor “was trying to kill” a woman.
When police arrived, Clark had left, but the woman told them what happened. The woman was treated for injuries to her neck.
“Neck injuries are particularly troubling because of what can happen,” Phillips said.
The prosecutor explained that Clark was charged with felonious assault because of the severity of the injuries and abduction because he prevented her from leaving.
Phillips said a first domestic violence is generally charged as a misdemeanor. Once a defendant has a conviction, however, subsequent charges are filed as felonies. Clark was convicted of domestic violence in 2010.
The grand jury also indicted Christopher James “CJ” Cook and Edward Paul Shrum, charging both of them with felony domestic violence.
Cook, 22, whose court-listed address is the Tri-County Regional Jail, is charged with one count each felonious assault, aggravated menacing and domestic violence. If convicted on all counts, Cook could face as many as 10 years in prison. He was convicted of domestic violence in 2015.
Phillips said Cook was involved in “multiple incidents” between August and September.
“There is a repeated pattern here,” Phillips said.
According to court documents, on Aug. 28, Cook was at a home on W. Bomford Street in Richwood when he allegedly struck a woman in the back of the head.
“He climbed on top of her and allegedly placed his hands over her mouth as she called for help,” Phillips said.
He said the woman could not breathe when Cook covered her mouth.
Court documents said the woman was able to push Cook off her, before he shoved her, knocking her to the floor.
“He knocked her backward and she hit her head, rendering her unconscious,” Phillips said.
Shrum, 45, whose court-listed address is the Tri-County Regional Jail, is charged with one count each felonious assault and domestic violence. He was convicted of domestic violence in 2002 in Delaware County. He could face as many as nine and a half years in prison.
The prosecutor said Shrum allegedly attacked someone already involved in an argument. According to court documents, two household members were arguing when Shrum stepped in. He allegedly grabbed the victim by the throat, “and pushed her and held her to the wall by the throat” Phillips said.
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