Wife of Arlington assistant chief: ‘I grossly overreacted’

12/04/2013 2:00 PM

11/12/2014 3:27 PM

The wife of an Arlington police assistant chief said she “grossly overreacted” in seeking an emergency protective order against her husband after his arrest last month on assault charges.

But Stephanie Hawthorne, 55, failed in her attempt to get a judge to lift the order, which prohibits Assistant Chief James Hawthorne from going within 500 feet of their home or her business until midnight Jan. 17.

“After calming down and giving much thought, prayer and consideration to the events leading up to the incident … between James and me, I would like to insist the Emergency Protective Order against James be removed immediately,” Stephanie Hawthorne wrote to an Arlington magistrate on Nov. 20, three days after police responded to a report of domestic violence at their home.

Stephanie Hawthorne, principal at Christine Barnett Junior High School in Arlington, wrote that there has been no violent behavior during their 26 years of marriage and that she “grossly overreacted” in requesting the order “in the heat of this unfortunate situation.”

“I do not feel threatened by, nor do I fear James in any way,” she wrote. “Therefore, I believe it is necessary, and the right thing to do, to request the Emergency Protective Order be removed immediately. I know James and I can resolve our differences in a peaceful and amicable manner in the future as we have for the past 26 years.”

Stephanie Hawthorne’s letter and a Nov. 22 response by Associate Municipal Court Judge Kathleen Weisskopf rejecting the request were obtained by the Star-Telegram on Wednesday.

Weisskopf, who issued the emergency protective order Nov. 17 at Stephanie Hawthorne’s request, wrote that state law does not provide the authority to lift or rescind an order once it’s been served.

“Additionally, there are limited circumstances under which an EPO may be modified, and your request does not fit within those stated circumstances,” Weisskopf wrote.

Therefore, she wrote, the emergency protective order will remain in effect.

James Hawthorne, 54, remains on administrative leave as criminal and internal investigations into the case continue. He had not been formally charged with assault as of Wednesday, Tarrant County court records show.

He was arrested by Arlington officers Nov. 17 after his wife called 911 from the couple’s Arlington home.

Arlington police have declined to comment on the specific allegations that led to the arrest. Heavily redacted police reports indicated only that the assistant chief had used “hands, fist and feet” in the assault and that his wife suffered “swelling/redness.”

Days after the high-profile arrest, Stephanie Hawthorne issued a statement through her attorney, accusing Arlington police of releasing false information and saying she would no longer participate in the investigation against her husband.

“I am deeply concerned by these missteps by the police department, as well as others,” Stephanie Hawthorne wrote. “I have now been placed in the untenable position of not being able to trust that there is not some underlying agenda that will prevent a fair and just outcome to this matter for my husband and for me.”

James and Stephanie Hawthorne declined to comment Wednesday.

In a previous interview with the Star-Telegram, he adamantly denied assaulting his wife and said he was confident the investigations would clear him.

“I do stand behind my wife, and I support any decision that she makes,” he said. “I love my wife. I would never do anything to cause her any physical harm.”

Arlington police have not commented on Stephanie Hawthorne’s allegations nor did they immediately respond to emailed questions on Wednesday.

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