Deputy accused in domestic violence case now on unpaid leave

A Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy accused of assaulting his wife and stepdaughter earlier this week in Franklin Twp. has been placed on leave without pay and remained in the Warren County Jail after his arraignment on Friday.

Douglas C. Gearhart, 43, was allegedly intoxicated Tuesday evening when he fought with his step-daughters and wife at their home in the Hunter area of Franklin Twp.

His wife lost three teeth in the incident and was treated at Atrium Medical Center, according to a Warren County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

Since Tuesday, Gearhart had been held in the Warren County Jail without bond.

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On Friday, Judge Rupert Ruppert set bond at $35,000 cash or surety during a hearing in Franklin Municipal Court.

Gearhart’s lawyer, Ed Perry, indicated he would be released, but Gearhart remained in the jail in Lebanon on Friday, according to on-line records and jail officials.

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said in a phone interview that Gearhart had been placed on unpaid adminstrative leave and would be fired, if the allegations were true.

“While on unpaid administrative leave, Deputy Gearhart’s privileges as a law enforcement officer have been suspended and his deputy sheriff badge and weapon have been removed from his control,” Plummer said in a statement.

“These allegations, if proven true, will not be tolerated by Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. Once the criminal allegations have been resolved, my office will promptly investigate and take the necessary actions to ensure the safety of the citizens of Montgomery County.”

A police incident report said surveillance footage from inside the family’s home in Warren County showed Gearhart grabbing his wife, dragging her by the hair through the kitchen and slamming her head onto the edge of the kitchen island.

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The report also said 911 calls from Gearhart’s residence indicated Gearhart returned home intoxicated and “was hitting everyone in the house.”

“Our step-dad is beating our mom right now,” one 911 caller told a dispatcher at about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday. “Oh my gosh, I knew this was going to happen.”

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Gearhart was arrested by Warren County Sheriff’s deputies and charged with two counts of domestic violence.

A charge of felonious assault was added later. He also is expected to face a drunk driving charge.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Ruppert ordered Gearhart not to erase the home surveillance video.

Lawyer Ed Perry sought a low bond, noting Gearhart’s ties with the area. He said Gearhart’s parents expected to raise the money to secure his release.

Born and raised in West Carrollton, Gearhart first worked as a police officer in Middletown from 1996 to 2001, when he joined the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, according to Perry.

If released, Gearhart is expected to live with his parents. He is barred from contact with the alleged victims and required to wear a GPS monitor.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for next Friday in the Franklin court, although Gearhart could be indicted before that in Warren County Common Pleas Court in Lebanon.

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