A 22-year-old Chetek man has been charged with misdemeanor battery, disorderly conduct, criminal damage to property and intimidation of a victim after a fight with his girlfriend, according to Barron County Circuit Court records.
Charged on Aug. 27 was John J. Clarke. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of up to two years and six months in jail and $31,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, a woman called police on Aug. 26 to say she had been in a fight with her boyfriend, identified as Clarke. The woman alleged the fight began over a butter knife that was left in the bed and escalated to him hitting her in the face with an open palm.
In a more detailed written statement to police, the woman said Clarke threatened to call child protective services and take her child away so she would not start an argument. The defendant and woman have a child in common, but it was not clear if this was the child.
During the argument, the woman said the man kicked open the bedroom door and also attempted to lock her in the bedroom. When she tried to go out the window, he allegedly slapped her, causing her glasses to fly off across the room.
The woman said the fight continued in the kitchen as Clarke attempted to leave with her child, but she prevented him from doing so by grabbing onto the child’s car seat.
Clarke allegedly threw the woman onto the couch to prevent her from going to a neighbor’s for help, and then he left with the child.
When the woman was walking down the street to the police station, the man drove up. She tried to take the child from the car, but the man locked the doors and drove away. He returned and the woman was able to get the child and her phone to call 911.
The woman said the man threatened to tell police that there were drugs and that they belonged to her.
Chetek police officers arrived at the scene spoke to the man. Clarke allegedly admitted to hitting the woman in the face during the argument.
The man was arrested by police and the woman elected to have the 72-hour no-contact order enforced.
Clarke appeared in court on Aug. 27, before Barron County Judge Maureen Boyle, with Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright prosecuting the case. Clarke was being represented by attorney Emily Nelson, court records said.
Clarke was scheduled to appear in court again on Wednesday, Sept. 4.