Thursday, March 29, 2001

Police chief silent on abuse allegations

No public comment, Streicher says

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher said Wednesday he will not publicly dispute his estranged wife's abuse allegations, saying he doesn't want to embarrass his family more.

        “I have two children that I am very concerned about,” he said. “I don't want them to be harmed or embarrassed any further.

        “I'm concerned about my children, my mom, my family.”

        The chief's comments came a day after his wife of nearly 25 years, Kathryn, filed for divorce and asked for court protection. She leveled a wide range of accusations, including that he threw her to the floor, spit in her face and cursed at her when he was drunk. She also alleged that he follows her friends and lets himself into the Delhi Township house they once shared when she's not home.

        The allegations are contained in affidavits filed with her requests for a temporary protective order and for spousal support, both civil court proceedings. They are not being investigated by police as criminal matters.

        Mrs. Streicher, 46, teaches first grade at Oyler Elementary School in Lower Price Hill. Neither she nor her lawyer, Robert Kelly, could be reached Wednesday despite several attempts.

        Mrs. Streicher's allegations prompted action from several fronts Wednesday:

        • In Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court, Judge Penelope Cunningham granted Mrs. Streicher's request for a temporary restraining order.

        She ordered Chief Streicher, 47, to stay out of the Delhi Township house they once shared and to not take any property out of it.

        Mrs. Streicher said in an affidavit that she's afraid of him and because he has said his job as chief of the Cincinnati Police Division grants him “special status to abuse, threaten or harass” her.

        Another hearing is set for May 14.

        • Delhi Township Police released a report on a domestic violence run officers made to the Streichers' house in October 1996. Mrs. Streicher called a police non-emergency line and asked for a supervisor, Chief Thomas Bauer said.

        She told officers the chief pushed and slapped her, the report said. Officers closed the case because she refused to cooperate, the report said, but prepared paperwork for both of them to use to file charges against each other. Neither did.

        Chief Bauer said his officers did not arrest either of them because they could not determine which was the “primary aggressor.”

        Cincinnati City Manager John Shirey confirmed the city investigated the incident in 1996, but that then-Chief Mike Snowden also could not determine who was at fault. Chief Streicher was a captain at the time.

        “It was one of those things that happens between a husband and wife,” Mr. Shirey said.

        • Mr. Shirey repeated that Mrs. Streicher's divorce allegations are part of a civil dispute that does not involve the city. He said he would continue to look into the matter, meaning he would read the court filings and familiarize himself with her complaints.

        Mrs. Streicher had been a substitute teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools since January 2000. She became a full-time teacher in August.

        In the court filing, she said her job is in jeopardy because he stopped paying her car insurance. She estimated, in court documents, that her annual salary would be about $14,000. He makes more than $125,000 a year, she said, but refuses to contribute money toward her expenses.

        He stopped paying her $80 monthly car insurance and $60 cable bills this month, her affidavit said, as well as her phone, water, gas and electric bills.

        She said they last lived together in May 2000. He has indicated they separated long before that.

        When he was promoted to chief in March 1999, he listed his family as two daughters. They are now 23 and 20, the youngest a member of the Cincinnati Fire Division's current recruit class.

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