Assaults on officers lead to jail time

JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times Jennifer Forshey appears in Washington County Common Pleas Court for sentencing Friday after previously pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer in Belpre while intoxicated.

With eight instances of confrontation with police officers ending in assault and battery, a Belpre woman left the courtroom Friday again yelling at her law enforcement escort.

Jennifer R. Forshey, 36, of 2703 Washington Blvd., was charged with assaulting a police officer during an incident at her residence when she was highly intoxicated in January. At the time, Forshey became combative and hurt Sgt. Mike Stump with the Belpre Police Department during a struggle. Another similar incident happened March 9 at the Washington County Jail when Forshey fought with jail employee Jeffrey Young and cut him with her fingernail.

“Why do you keep assaulting police officers?” asked Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi of Forshey as he reviewed her record.

“It’s only when I was under the consumption of alcohol,” she replied.

But, she said, she had quit drinking after the March incident in the jail, which was a few weeks before she found out she was pregnant.

Forshey’s attorney, Beau Cross, explained that Forshey is due in November and is “remorseful for her actions.”

“We would ask that the court consider that Ms. Forshey has a child in her home right now that begins school Aug. 20,” he noted.

Originally Forshey was charged with the counts of assault of a peace officer, obstructing official business and assault on an employee of a local correctional facility, one fourth-degree and two fifth-degree felonies. Forshey was also charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest.

According to the prosecutor’s office, the original call to Forshey’s home was made by family, in reference to an intoxiated female causing a disturbance.

Forshey’s boyfriend at the time told police officers that Forshey was out on bond for domestic violence against her mother and one of the conditions of her bond was not to drink alcohol.

But when officers tried to get Forshey to come downstairs, she became combative and began kicking the officers.

She was originally indicted in April but following a plea on June 25 to a fourth-degree felony assault of a police officer, the other charges were dropped by the prosecution.

Forshey explained in court that she believes a jail sentence doesn’t give her the treatment she needs to stay sober and told the judge she was in counseling for bipolar disorder.

“I go to (Alcoholics Anonymous) when I can but I don’t have a lot of babysitting help,” she said.

Kerenyi pressed Forshey again before concluding her sentence with not only 45 days of jail but also three years of community control under the direction of the Adult Parole Authority.

“What’s it going to take to get you to stop assaulting police officers?” he asked.

“No drinking,” she responded.

“The fact that you quit cold turkey is actually kind of impressive,” he noted.

The maximum sentence Kerenyi could have sentenced Forshey to was 18 months in prison.

Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Amy Graham said in court she had contacted Stump and that he was pleased with the sentence.

“The fact that she’ll be on probation will give Belpre Police something more to work with,” she said. “They’ve been dealing with her for a long time.”

Following the final smack of the gavel Friday, Forshey began arguing with the sheriff’s deputy and bailiff in the courtroom.

“I want to say goodbye to my mom,” she yelled, waving her hands away from the handcuffs presented as she was to be taken into custody.

Further yells were heard as the bailiff and deputy tried to remove Forshey from the courtroom.

“I am pregnant, I can walk by myself,” yelled Forshey as the the two officers led her out of the courtroom. “I don’t want to go that way. I’m pregnant, you have to let me use the restroom.”

Graham said following the display that Forshey is in need of both alcohol and mental health counseling.

At a glance:

• Jennifer R. Forshey, 36, of 2703 Washington Blvd., Belpre, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of community control during sentencing in Washington County Common Pleas Court Friday.

• Forshey had previously pleaded guilty on June 25 to assault of a police officer, a fourth-degree felony.

• The maximum sentence Forshey could have received was 18 months in prison.

Source: Washington County Common Pleas Court.