Friday March 1, 2013

KEITH WHITCOMB JR.

Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A West Main Street man is facing a felony charge after police investigated an apparent fight between him and his daughter while she was visiting him.

William Ely, 46, pleaded not guilty Monday to first degree aggravated domestic assault, and misdemeanor domestic assault. He was released on conditions he not have contact with his daughter and abide by the conditions of a restraining order.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Sgt. Michael Plusch, on Feb. 25 at 8:19 p.m. he went to Depot Street in Bennington to speak with a woman who said her 14-year-old daughter had been assaulted by Ely. Plusch wrote that the girl was visibly upset and found it difficult to speak.

The girl told police she went to her father’s house after school and began arguing with him in regards to her attitude. She said she was using the computer and when she did not log off Facebook, Ely pulled her arm behind her head hurting her shoulder. She got into a position where she could put her foot against his stomach and push but her leg was grabbed and she was pulled to the floor by Ely. She said her flailing was mistaken by Ely as an attempt to hit him so he pinned her to the ground for about five seconds. The altercation then moved to a door, where the girl said her backpack was thrown at her. She said she pushed Ely back when he got close and kicked at his groin but he bumped her toward the door after attempting to spank her and her head hit the doorknob. Once they were outside she said Ely held her by the throat and made it hard for her to breathe. After that she reached a vehicle and called her mother to come pick her up. She told police three other people were in the home at the time and two witnessed the incident.

Ely told police that the girl had been on the computer past the point where it was time for her to go home and had been rude to him throughout her visit. He said her mother sent him a text message about it being time for her to leave so he placed himself between her and the computer. He said the girl then kicked him the groin so he held her arm behind her head while she continued to kick at him. He said things got out of control after that and he did not know how to deal with it. While outside he grabbed her by the chin and arm and held her against a railing while she continued her kicking. Ely was able to call the girl’s mother to come get her.

Plusch said he talked to William Constantino, 24, who was present for the altercation and said Ely and his mother have been dating for a long time and that Ely’s daughter is like a sister to him. He said the girl had been rude to Ely throughout the evening and when he got between her and the computer she kicked him the groin, causing him to grab her arms to avoid being kicked. He said the girl was repeatedly trying to kick him in the groin. This continued to the outside where Ely told her to quiet down. Constantino was one of the people the girl said was present at the incident.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr