BENNINGTON -- A Bennington man was released on conditions Thursday after being accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

Rod G. Goebel, 50, pleaded not guilty to first degree aggravated domestic assault, and misdemeanor domestic assault. He is not allowed contact with the complaining witness, except for one occasion whenever she goes to his residence in the presence of law enforcement to retrieve some of her property and a horse.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Sgt. Michael Plusch, on April 4 he met with a woman who said that on Feb. 28 Goebel grabbed her by the arms and threw her backward, causing her to hit her head and suffer a concussion.

She said Goebel had thrown out some Valentine's cards she had given him, so she threw away a coffee mug of his. This upset him, causing the fight. She said this happened inside the veterinarian clinic attached to the home they share.

The woman talked about other incidents, one being on Dec. 11 when she came home late and Goebel tore her shirt off and threw her around the house, bruising her in the process. She supplied photos of what she said were the injuries from that.

The most recent incident was April 4 when Goebel shoved her.

She said Goebel verbally abuses her and once took her car keys to prevent her from leaving.

Plusch wrote that the woman was reluctant about signing a statement, as she was concerned about care for her horses. Plusch spoke to the woman's father, who said she had reported being abused by Goebel to him.


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On April 16, Plusch was told by the Bennington County State's Attorney's Office to arrest Goebel.

According to Goebel, the woman broke his coffee mug after she found he had thrown away some cards. There was a scuffle over the garbage bag and she fell, hitting her head.

He talked about an incident in April 2012 when he and the woman argued over her allegedly sleeping with someone else. He called her a "whore" and she slapped him, so he grabbed her arms as she tried to kick him. He said she bruises easily, and added they have had situations like these three or four times in the past.

As to the shirt incident, he said he did tear it off her, but it was one of his "scrub shirts." He could not explain how the situation had escalated.

He said he has never physically abused the woman, but said he has verbally abused her.

The state had argued for strict conditions of release involving a curfew, but Goebel's attorney, Frederick Bragdon, said this is not a case in which his client is likely to go looking for the woman. He said Goebel has strong ties to the area and is also not likely to flee, but his job as a large-animal veterinarian requires him to go to New York and Massachusetts from time to time.