Calls for official accused of domestic violence to be fired

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Democrats in the West Virginia House of Delegates are calling for the ouster of a state official recently charged with battery against his ex-wife at her Florida home.
Several delegates on Monday issued a statement demanding that Division of Natural Resources Director Stephen S. McDaniel be terminated.
The Charleston Gazette-Mail reported last week that McDaniel was charged with misdemeanor battery for an April 6 incident at the ex-wife’s home. An arrest report obtained by the paper says the victim told authorities McDaniel became angry after his ex-wife wouldn’t pick him up from a bar in St. Augustine.
An argument became physical when McDaniel used his knee to press her forearm down onto her bed, according to the report. It says he then put his hand over her nose and mouth, causing her trouble breathing. The report also says McDaniel picked up a lamp, shaking it.
“The victim believed the defendant was going to kill her,” the report reads.
The report says she was “shaken up, crying, and appeared to be terrified.” She had a bruise on her left eye, a laceration under her upper lip and red marks on her neck, according to the report.
Gov. Jim Justice’s general counsel Brian Abraham said that McDaniel offered to resign, but the governor didn’t feel that was necessary based on the way events were explained.
McDaniel couldn’t immediately be reached after a phone call to his office was referred elsewhere.
The paper reported that McDaniel has since agreed in Florida to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement, in which he neither declared his innocence nor pleaded guilty. The paper also reported that he also agreed to go into a one-year pretrial diversion program, will have to complete a batterer’s intervention program, and must have no contact with his ex-wife.
“His behavior is unacceptable, as is the refusal to take action by the Governor’s Office because they believe that he is doing a good job,” Del. Cindy Lavender-Bowe of Greenbrier County wrote in a statement.
Kanawha County Del. Amanda Estep-Burton said “We cannot let domestic violence be the face of our state.”