RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A hearing has been requested by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office to amend the terms of Rutherford County Sheriff Robert Arnold’s pretrial release.
According to documents filed in United States District Court, the sheriff, who is already accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, is now also accused of domestic abuse.
U.S. Attorney Cecil VanDevender, however, disagrees with the petition and is requesting a warrant for Sheriff Arnold’s arrest. In order for that to happen, the request must go before a judge.
Arnold is accused of assaulting his wife on Sept. 5. She called the sheriff’s office and a deputy responded to the scene but a report was not filed.
Court documents state the couple visited a friend’s residence for a social gathering that night where they consumed alcohol.
When they returned home, a disagreement reportedly broke out and Sheriff Arnold attempted to close his wife out of their bedroom.
“After a period of time, Mrs. Arnold reached through the door opening, twisted the defendant’s nipple and he released the door,” court documents state. “Consequently, the defendant pushed Mrs.
Arnold to the floor and punched her in her right arm near her shoulder.”
It’s alleged that she kicked her husband and a struggle ensued.
According to the documents, Sheriff Arnold reportedly grabbed a belt and wrapped it around his wife in an attempt to drag her out of the room “without leaving marks on her body.”
When she slipped out of the belt, Sheriff Arnold allegedly pinned her to their bed before letting her up.
During a recorded conversation between Sheriff Arnold’s wife and a third party, she stated that she wanted to make a statement to police but she was scared of her husband.
A day later when Sheriff Arnold’s probation officer, Vidette Putman, asked him about the incident, he stated nothing happened.
When asked a second time, the sheriff indicated he and his wife had an argument but nothing physical happened.
According to court documents, a third party provided U.S. Attorney VanDevender with additional information about the incident, stating that “Sheriff Arnold drank too much and took an Ambien pill before pushing his wife to the floor,” according to the court documents.
Upon reaching out to her, the sheriff’s wife told his probation officer that they had an argument, but he had not put his hands on her.
She also stated that she has plans to file for divorce and indicated that she could not take off from work to provide a written statement.
Despite being provided with an email address, she did not send a statement.
On September 7, as Sheriff Arnold reported to the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office for normal reporting, he and his probation officer discussed the alleged abuse.
When asked to write a statement, Arnold wrote, “Nothing happened on September 3-5, 2016.”
CONDITIONS OF PRETRIAL RELEASE:
As a condition of his pretrial release, Sheriff Arnold is not to violate any federal, state, or local laws.
In court, the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office is petitioning the court that Arnold’s conditions of release be amended to include the following:
- Refrain from any use of alcohol
- Participate in a program of impatient our outpatient alcohol abuse therapy and counseling
- Participate in anger management counseling
- Refrain from possessing a firearm at his residence or in his vehicle.
A hearing is set for September 27 at 1:30 p.m.
TBI INVESTIGATION, CHARGES:
Arnold and Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Chief Deputy Joe Russell and Arnold’s uncle, John Vanderveer, were indicted by a grand jury in May in an unrelated case.
The indictments allege Arnold committed conspiracy by using his official position to allow JailCigs, a company he was a benefactor of, to be admitted into the Rutherford County jail, distributing and permitting jail employees to do tasks beneficial to JailCigs, promoting JailCigs to additional sheriff’s offices and counties, and permitting JailCigs not to pay Rutherford County the customary commission paid to other counties in Tennessee.
Additionally, Russell and Vanderveer are accused of bribing and offering Arnold kickbacks, including the opportunity to invest in JailCigs and tens of thousands of dollars in payments, according to the indictment.
Rutherford County Commissioner Brad Turner told News 2 that Sheriff Arnold should have stepped down when he was indicted.
He thinks the domestic issue is another reason to resign.
“When you start talking about something like this with physical abuse with a spouse and families being affected,” said Turner. “Alcohol and guns, those are two things that just don’t mix. And we deserve better in Rutherford County. Every constituent that I’ve talked to so far this afternoon is very angry.”
News 2 caught up with Sheriff Arnold outside his Murfreesboro home Thursday. He declined to comment on the latest allegations.