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STRIDIRON: CHILD ASSAULT CASE NOT DISMISSED

Oct. 29, 2003 – Attorney General Iver Stridiron said on Wednesday that he will prosecute his senior investigator, who was arrested last week on charges of assaulting his 9-year old son, if the evidence warrants it.
Stridiron, taking part in the "Topp Talk" show on WVWI Radio, disputed a report published Wednesday in a print newspaper that the V.I. Justice Department had dropped all charges against William Curtis.
"The case has not been dismissed. The case has been nol-prossed," Stridiron said on the air. "That simply means we do not believe at the point we went to court that there was sufficient evidence to our satisfaction to proceed with the case."
Curtis, 49, was charged on Oct. 7 with aggravated assault and battery. Police investigators said he punched his son in the face with a closed fist after the two got into an argument over homework. (See "Child assault case against Justice aide on hold".)
Stridiron said on Wednesday that, based on the information available, it seemed to him that the incident was more likely a misdemeanor assault than a felony case.
A comment attributed to Stridiron in the article published in the V.I. Daily News said the attorney general had not seen the case files or investigative reports as of Tuesday.
Stridiron said a nol-pross strategy was used successfully in the case of Chamonie Miller, the Divi Carina Bay Casino employee whose body was found in her vehicle submerged in Krause Lagoon last year. Prosecutors suspected her boyfriend, Kenmore Boston, early in the investigation, but delayed prosecution until investigators could build a strong enough case to convict him, Stridiron said.
The attorney general described Curtis as a respected member of his staff but said that would not deter him from ordering Curtis to trial if the evidence warrants it.
Critics have accused Stridiron of a double standard — having a policy of "zero tolerance" toward domestic violence involving police while granting leniency to Curtis. Stridiron said that is not the case and challenged anyone who disagreed to look as his record in office.
"It doesn't matter to me who it is. We will prosecute somebody if they have committed a crime and we believe we have an opportunity to get a conviction," he said on the radio.
Stridiron said he has fired or prosecuted 13 Justice Department employees during his tenure as attorney general. Wilbert Smith, a senior forensic scientist, was charged in July with armed robbery. Earlier this week, Stridiron said the Smith case should go to trial by the end of this year.

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