Lawmaker accused of hitting wife files charges

Dembrow says ex-boxer taunted him, struck first

April 04, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

The Montgomery County delegate charged Sunday with assaulting his wife has filed countercharges against her, claiming she is a former professional boxer who struck him first.

Del. Dana Lee Dembrow, a four-term Democrat, filed the charges Monday evening against his wife, Suzette Diane Dembrow, just hours after he released a statement apologizing for the incident.

Dembrow, 48, was charged with second-degree assault after he admitted slapping his wife in the face during a dispute at their home, according to court documents.

"I have been arrested and charged with the commission of a serious criminal offense for which I immediately apologized to my wife and now I apologize to the people of Maryland," Dembrow said in the statement.

But in charges later filed at Rockville District Court, Dembrow said his wife struck him first and taunted him to hit her.

Yesterday, the Legislative Women's Caucus held an emergency meeting to discuss Dembrow's arrest. After debating how to respond, the caucus issued a statement that condemns domestic violence but does not mention Dembrow by name.

"We find such acts despicable, harmful and completely contrary to the principles the Women's Caucus strongly supports," the statement said. "If such acts of violence were committed by a member of our institution, we would be outraged."

Dembrow refused to comment on the case yesterday but responded to the statement from the Women's Caucus.

"I don't think anyone would disagree with the statement," Dembrow said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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