There’s a common misconception that only men are accused of domestic violence for attacking a woman. But anyone can be charged with domestic violence in Texas, as evidenced by the recent arrest of the girlfriend of former Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
Prosecutors in Harris County, home of Houston, recently charged Leslie Ann Caron, age 40, with injury to an elderly person after it was discovered that her boyfriend, Dewhurst, suffered 2 fractured ribs. He had not reported the alleged assault, but he did seek treatment for chest pain. X-rays revealed 2 broken ribs.
Prosecutors then learned of an alleged assault on Dewhurst by the woman at his Houston home on May 13, when Dewhurst reportedly was kicked in the ribs during an argument.
Reportedly, he was assaulted again on May 17, when Caron allegedly scratched him, bit him, struck him in the elbow and threw a pot at Dewhurst, who is 74 and a Houston native.
In each case, verbal arguments reportedly escalated into violence by Caron, who’d been Dewhurst’s girlfriend for about a year.
Caron was arrested and jailed on June 3 in lieu of posting a $10,000 surety bond. If she is released, she will be restricted from having any contact with Dewhurst or going within 100 yards of his residence. She also is not allowed to carry a weapon or to use alcohol or other drugs.
Domestic assault is a third-degree felony
Her charge of injury to an elderly person is a third-degree felony in Texas. Punishments can range from 2 to 10 years in jail and can include a fine of as much as $10,000.
Caron, a professional fundraiser, maintains that she did not assault Dewhurst and that he was injured while moving items at his warehouse.
Men are not often victims of domestic abuse. More typically, women are the victims, with about 25 percent of women suffering some form of physical abuse in their lifetime.
And as in the case of Dewhurst, the crime often isn’t reported when a man is the victim, due to a stigma about men being assaulted by women.
Male victims face gender expectations and stigma
As reported by the Houston Chronicle, humiliation, fear and shame are some reasons why domestic violence is under-reported, according to Maisha Colter, Chief Executive Officer of Houston-based nonprofit Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA).
She said victims are afraid they will be judged over why they stayed in an abusive relationship, or afraid that they’ll be blamed and considered deserving of abuse. Gender expectations also can make men be subjected to ridicule.
“Domestic violence runs much deeper than the physicality of it,” Colter told the Chronicle. “Many men are trained by their upbringing to retreat when a woman is being aggressive.”
Dewhurst even said in a written statement that he wasn’t interested in filing charges against Caron. Nonetheless, prosecutors did file a charge.
“She’s a remarkable woman with many fine attributes,” wrote Dewhurst, who served as Texas’ lieutenant governor from 2003 to 2015. “I wish her all the best in life.”
The alleged assault is part of an increase in domestic assault incidents during the sheltering-in-place of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.
While women most often are victims of such domestic violence, as Dewhurst’s case shows, men can be too, and anyone can be charged with domestic violence.
Contact a domestic violence defense lawyer
If you face such a charge in Houston, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Conroe or elsewhere in the Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County areas, contact an experienced family violence or domestic violence defense lawyer at the Neal Davis Law Firm.
The domestic assault allegation or claim against you may or may not be true, and you deserve to have your legal rights protected. Contact us today, and let us help.