By Jon Johnson
SAFFORD – Teenage love can have extreme hazards (Romeo and Juliet) but what is more likely is that they experience the same pitfalls that adults find themselves in all too often.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with assault/domestic violence Nov. 11 after his 15-year-old girlfriend alleged he had punched her repeatedly and beat her with a metal pipe.
At about 6:35 p.m., authorities were dispatched to the St. Rose of Lima Church regarding the assault. The victim, who had called the police, was found disheveled with dirt, grass and small thorns throughout her clothing, according to a Safford Police report. At that time, she said her boyfriend had assaulted her initially at the church and then again after he found her hiding behind a storage shed at a residence across the street from the church.
The victim stated that she was riding in her boyfriend’s vehicle when he became upset because she wouldn’t answer a question he asked her. She said the incident wasn’t the first time her boyfriend had struck her and that he suffers from bipolar disorder.
After stopping at the church, the boyfriend became more upset and began punching the victim in her face with a closed fist, according to her statements to police. She managed to break free and run across the street to a residence for help but found nobody at home.
She then hid behind a storage shed, but her perpetrator found her and allegedly began striking her with a metal pipe he had found laying on the ground nearby. When the suspect stopped the assault and left, the victim used her cell phone to call the police.
The victim was treated at the scene by paramedics from Lifeline Ambulance and released to her mother. No viable bruising was initially viewed and the officer wasn’t able to locate the metal pipe allegedly used in the attack. The officer did locate two sets of footprints in the area and an area that appeared a struggle had taken place. The officer advised the victim’s mother to take pictures of the victim should bruises arise.
The officer called the suspect, who agreed to meet with him at the duck ponds at the Graham County Fairgrounds.
The suspect said he had been attempting to break up with his girlfriend but she refused to get out of his car, so he struck her a few times. He also allegedly admitted to slapping her after she ran across the road. He denied using a metal pipe to beat her and said his girlfriend did things to annoy him and that’s why he reacted the way he did.
The suspect was then arrested and booked into the Eastern Arizona Regional Juvenile Detention Facility.
The officer then advised the victim’s family of the arrest, and the mother informed him that she had taken pictures of bruises that appeared on her daughter’s back and sent them to his email. The officer noted that the pictures showed numerous red marks and scrapes on the victim’s back with at least one long and thin bruise consistent with being struck by the type of metal pipe she previously described.