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Investigator: Domestic abuse call not investigated

4:18 AM, Mar 8, 2011   |    comments
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AVON -- Despite a policy to investigate accusations of domestic violence by its employees, the U.S. Marshals Service never looked into abuse allegations involving a deputy working in Cleveland, even though his supervisor knew about them.

Karen Midock called 9-1-1 last year, telling the Avon Police Department dispatcher that her husband, Deputy U.S. Marshal Eric Midock, had abused her, according to a police report.

"He grabbed me by the hair and was throwing me around the room," Karen Midock told Channel 3 News. "He threw me out of the room and into the spindle railing. I know he has guns. I know he has his temper. I was thinking he was going to...kill me."

Eric Midock, who was not charged, denies ever abusing his wife. The two are now divorcing.

"I've never touched her," Eric Midock said. "I never would touch her."

The National Center for Women and Policing estimates that at least 40 percent of police officers families experience domestic violence, compared to 10 percent of all other families.

It can end tragically, as it did when Cleveland Police Officer Rex Mehaffey, who killed himself in 2007 after shooting his wife, who survived.

It's impossible to say how often officers get arrested for domestic abuse because nobody tracks it.

Tim Boehnlein, associate director at the Domestic Violence Center in Cleveland, said that abuse victims are often afraid to speak up, knowing guns are in the house and fearing law enforcement officers will take their colleague's word over theirs. 

"Police officers are often model citizens...and when somebody, the victim, says something about how they're being treated in their home in private, everybody says, 'No, that can't be,'" Boehnlein said.

Avon Police never arrested Eric Midock. According to the report, Karen Midock "didn't want to sign charges" and filled out a waiver form, agreeing not to press charges.

Once Karen Midock signed the waiver, she became "confused" and "wanted to know why we weren't arresting him," one of the responding officers wrote in his report.

"I didn't know what the paper said," Karen Midock told Channel 3 News. "I wanted him arrested but, because I signed that paper, they said they're not arresting him."

It's the policy of the U.S. Marshals Service to conduct an internal investigation when one of its "employees is accused of domestic violence," said spokesman Dave Oney.  

But that didn't happen in this case, Oney said, "because we did not receive a complaint of domestic violence," even though Eric Midock's supervisor called Avon Police that night to check on the situation, according to a recording of the call made that night to the dispatcher. 

"I'm with the U.S. Marshals in Cleveland," the supervisor told the dispatcher. "My understanding you got a call to a Midock residence earlier this evening...for a domestic call."  

When asked why his wife would accuse him of domestic violence, Eric Midock said that his "wife has a lot of mental issues."  

Police reports do indicate that officers responded twice to calls that Karen Midock was possibly attempting suicide, including once for a possible overdose.

But Karen Midock says the overdose was accidental and the other was a false report.

Karen Midock says anger issues have landed her husband in trouble before. During their Las Vegas honeymoon, Eric Midock admits he got into an argument with a casino pit boss.

"They held me and they questioned me," Eric Midock said. "There was no law broken."

WKYC-TV

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