Wichita City Council member Jim Skelton was arrested by police and charged with disorderly conduct, domestic violence battery and assault in municipal court after a 2001 incident.
Charges were dropped, a city official said, when Skelton’s wife and oldest daughter did not appear in court twice, although subpoenaed to do so.
Records obtained by The Wichita Eagle show that three police officers responded to Skelton’s home Aug. 2, 2001. Skelton’s wife reported being “pulled out of a chair by her arms” by Skelton. Police took photos and booked Skelton into jail on suspicion of disorderly conduct and battery.
He was later charged with assault in the same incident, accused of making a threat against his oldest daughter. That charge was not filed until 2003.
All charges were dropped, City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf said.
Skelton, who is running for the District 5 seat on the Sedgwick County Commission, said that “no violence” occurred and that he cooperated with police.
He said he and his ex-wife had “had personal challenges in our marriage. I was not convicted of a crime. The charges were dismissed. I’d like to tell you that it happened a long time ago.”
The couple got divorced last year. Skelton was first elected to the City Council in 2005.
Records of police responses to Skelton’s home in south Wichita show two other incidents that resulted in no arrests or charges:
*Two officers responded to the house on Jan. 13, 1996, when Skelton’s wife reported Skelton damaging their car by kicking it.
*On Jan. 10, 2004, a police officer reported “being dispatched to a DV.” The Skeltons said they were having a verbal argument, the report said. The report also said that the two adults and a child stated that Skelton pushed his wife down the stairs. There were no visible injuries, according to the report, which was categorized as “domestic violence (with) children present.”
Skelton was arraigned in the 2001 case on Aug. 28, 2001, Rebenstorf said. He appeared for trial on Sept. 28, 2001, but his wife and their daughter did not. The city asked for a continuance in the case until Nov. 15, 2001. Skelton appeared in court then but “the two witnesses, although subpoenaed, did not appear,” Rebenstorf said Monday.
The city prosecutor reviewed Skelton’s background and made an agreement with his lawyer that charges would be dismissed if Skelton attended a one-day domestic violence awareness class and a one-day parenting class, Rebenstorf said.
Skelton appeared in court Jan. 16, 2002, with a letter stating he had completed both classes, and the disorderly conduct and battery charges were dismissed, Rebenstorf said.
The 2003 assault charge, stemming from the same 2001 report, was dismissed because the city did not file in a timely manner or serve notice to the defendant in a timely manner, Rebenstorf said. Rebenstorf said the two cases should not have been filed separately.
He said one of the three officers who responded to Skelton’s house in 2001 filed the disorderly conduct and battery charges the next day. Another officer filed a complaint of assault much later.
Skelton brought his eldest daughter, in her late teens, to an interview at The Eagle about the incident. He asked her to tell a reporter what happened.
“I was little,” she said. “I remember hearing them argue. I was confused.”
She said she called police “mainly because I wanted the arguing to stop. I’ve never witnessed any violence.”
Skelton said he had “served with honor here the last six years” as a City Council member and said “I’m ready to get this behind me.”