A Marietta man was arrested Monday night after he allegedly attacked his stepdaughter with a belt and assaulted a witness who attempted to intervene.
Howard E. Baker, 40, of 205 Muskingum Drive, was charged with misdemeanor counts of domestic violence and assault after the incident, which happened around 9 p.m. Monday at the horse barn at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
According to a statement of facts provided by the Marietta Police Department, an officer was dispatched to the fairgrounds on Front Street after a call was received from a woman reporting a possible assault.
The woman said Baker arrived at the horse barn, yelled at his 12-year-old stepdaughter, then removed his belt and began swinging it at the girl. At one point the girl fell to the ground and wrestled with Baker there, the statement says.
When they were both standing, the woman reportedly stepped between them and warned Baker things were getting out of hand. The statement says Baker then grabbed the woman, shoved her into the barn door and fled the scene on his bicycle.
The woman complained of pain in her forearm, shoulder and back as a result. Her arm was red and beginning to swell, the report says.
The girl said that prior to his arrival, Baker called her and told her to come home, which she agreed to do after she cleaned her horse's stall. She corroborated the woman's account but declined to complete a request for a temporary restraining order or a domestic violence statement. The statement says she had abrasions and red marks on her neck and back.
Three Lowell residents at the scene also reported they saw Baker attack the girl and the woman who called police.
Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite said witness accounts of the incident went beyond the scope of corporal punishment.
"(One woman) said he was over the line, and this is a woman who uses corporal punishment herself," Waite said, noting witnesses also described Baker as appearing to be "in a rage."
Baker was arrested at his residence less than two hours after the incident. He was arraigned Tuesday morning in Marietta Municipal Court, with bond set at $5,000 and the condition he have no contact with the girl or the woman.
Washington County Jail officials said he posted bond and was released Tuesday.