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05-14-2005, 10:00 PM
City councilman arrested on domestic violence charge

Saturday, May 14, 2005

By Dan Horn
Enquirer staff writer

Cincinnati City Councilman Sam Malone was arrested early today after police accused him of beating his 14-year-old son with a belt.

Malone pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor domestic violence charge and was released after spending about eight hours in jail. He described the incident as "parental intervention" brought about by a disciplinary problem at his son's school on Friday.

"Our children cannot be expected to act in a disrespectful way to teachers and other individuals in positions of authority," Malone said today in a prepared statement. "Proper discipline is an important and necessary component of good parenting."

A police report said Malone hit his son with a belt, causing injuries that included swelling to the chest, arms, back and buttocks.

A spokeswoman for children's services in Hamilton County said doctors at a Cincinnati hospital contacted the agency Friday night after they found welts and belt marks on the boy's body.

"Parents are allowed to physically discipline their children," said Laurie Petrie, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Job and Family Services, which includes children's services.

"But this," she said, "would be beyond what we would consider normal discipline."

Malone's son is in the custody of a relative today because a judge granted a temporary protective order that bars Malone from having contact with the boy.

Malone is due in court again on May 31 for a pre-trial hearing, at which time he could ask the judge to lift the protective order.

05-17-2005, 06:18 PM
Malone wants reunion

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Son said he's scared to return

By Gregory Korte and Jane Prendergast
Enquirer staff writers

Councilman Sam Malone appeared subdued Monday during an hour-long Finance Committee meeting at City Hall. As he takes his seat, he is welcomed by Councilman Chris Monzel.

Councilman Sam Malone returned to work at City Hall on Monday after a weekend in which he was arrested, jailed and arraigned on a charge of domestic violence, saying his top priority "is the reunification of me and my boy."

But in a tearful 911 call released Monday, his son told a police dispatcher he was afraid that after police came, he might have to return home.

"My dad, he's on council," the 14-year-old said. "I'm gonna be in more trouble."

As the television cameras caught up with him at his City Hall office Monday, Malone continued to maintain the Friday night incident was the result of appropriate corporal punishment. He declined to discuss details.

"I have to let the media know that I'm not running from anything," he said. "I'm a clean-cut guy, all my life, and some people are trying to portray me as a monster."

Police went to the two-family house Malone owns on Lincoln Avenue in Walnut Hills about 8:15 p.m. Friday after the call to 911.

In the call, an 11-year-old said his 14-year-old "brother" did not feel safe because he'd been beaten by his father.

The younger boy, believed to be the foster son of Malone's fiancťe, handed the phone to the 14-year-old. The boys are not biological brothers.

Malone had left the house before the boys dialed 911. His lawyer, Hal Arenstein, said he thought Malone had gone to a job-related function. Later, when the councilman realized police had left several messages on his cell phone, he went home and was arrested, Arenstein said.

Malone, 34, was charged with domestic violence, a misdemeanor, and taken to jail just after 1 a.m. He spent eight hours there before being released on his own recognizance. Police said the teenager had welts and swelling on his back, arms, buttocks and chest. The boy was taken to a hospital by his aunt, and a judge issued a temporary protective order that forbids the councilman from having contact with the teen.

Malone said he does not know where his son is. He is scheduled to return to court May 31.

Though he would not discuss details of the case, Malone did talk obliquely about his upbringing, his relationship with his son and the importance of discipline.

"There's nothing wrong with aggression as long as it's channeled, controlled aggression," he said.

Malone's half-brother, Harold T. Malone, said Monday that their mother sometimes used a belt on them when they were growing up. Their mother raised the boys after Sam Malone's father, a bounty hunter, was killed in a Bond Hill shootout in 1970.

"I knew my mother loved me, and I knew when I got it that I deserved what I got," Harold Malone said.

In an interview in his City Hall office, Sam Malone called on character witnesses like his brother and Lt. Aaron Taylor - the retired police canine officer who befriended Malone on the streets of Bond Hill when he was 12.

Taylor described how Malone sought custody of his son after a 2002 auto wreck that killed the boy's mother, after having only every-other-weekend custody of his son for many years.

"I was very impressed with how well Sam stepped up," he said. "If you think about it, there are a lot of fathers who would have shied away from that challenge."

Malone, a first term Republican running for re-election in November, showed up 24 minutes late for a Finance Committee meeting Monday. He entered the council chamber through a side door to avoid walking through a phalanx of television cameras camped outside his office for much of the morning.

He hugged fellow Republican Chris Monzel and exchanged warm greetings with Democratic Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, then sat quietly through an hour-long debate about a proposed city takeover of the bus system.

For the rest of the afternoon, Malone gave interviews with television and newspaper reporters, breaking for police officers to take a report about vandalism to his car while parked in the City Hall lot.

The accusation against Malone is among thousands of complaints of child abuse that Hamilton County's Children's Services investigates every year.

Physical abuse is the most common complaint investigated, said Laurie Petrie, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Job and Family Services, which includes Children's Services.

Petrie would not discuss Malone's case or his comments suggesting he had properly disciplined his child for misbehaving. But she said discipline that ends with a trip to the hospital is always suspect.

Under Ohio law, Petrie said, parental discipline becomes abusive if the child is injured.

"Some parents find it necessary and appropriate to physically discipline their children," she said. "But society, through its laws, has defined a line. And that line is causing physical injury to a child."

She said Children's Services often hears complaints from parents and others who say children need strong discipline and the government should stay out of a family's business.

But Petrie said intervention is sometimes necessary.

05-17-2005, 06:21 PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Excerpts of 911 call

An 11-year-old boy called 911 Friday night, saying his brother was afraid for his safety after being beaten by his father, Councilman Sam Malone. The boys are not biological brothers.

Excerpts of the 911 call, which begins at 7:53 p.m.:

Operator: Cincinnati 911. What is your emergency?

11-year-old boy: I have a brother that donít feel safe here.

O: You have a brother that doesnít feel safe there?

11: Yes.

O: Whatís your address?

11: 852 Lincoln Ave.

O: 852 Lincoln?

11: Yes.

O: Why doesnít he feel safe there?

11: ĎCause he just got beat.

O: OK. Who beat him?

11: His daddy.

(Operator asks him who he is, how old he is, what his phone number is, whether itís his father also)

O: Whatís his fatherís name?

11: Sam Malone.

(Operator asks how old dad is, kid doesnít know, where Sam is, kid doesnít know)

(The boy hands the telephone to Maloneís son, who police said was hit with the belt)

O: Hi. How old are you?

Son, crying: 14.

O: Are you injured, [name omitted]?

14: Yes maíam, Iíve got bruises.

O: Whereís your mom at?

14: Sheís deceased.

14: Iím gonna get in trouble.

O: OK. No, youíre not.

14: Yes I am. My dad, heís council.

O: Heís what?

14: Heís on council and Ö Iím gonna be in more trouble.

O: Your dadís on council?

14: Yes, maíam.

O: City council?

14: Yes, maíam.

O: [Name omitted], Iím going to get the police out there, OK?

14: Am I gonna have to come back home?

O: I donít know. Iím going to get the police out there because if your dadís hitting you, thatís not right.

14: He hit me with a belt.

O: OK. Will you stay there till the police get there?

14: Yes maíam, but if I gotta come back homeÖÖ

O: Iím going to get the police out there. You stay there, [name omitted], and you take care of your brother, all right?