PEVELY, MO - The chief of the Pevely Police Department was suspended Monday (Jan. 7) amid public outcry over allegations of domestic assault in November. Dozens of people gathered outside Pevely City Hall ahead of the board meeting to hold a candlelight vigil and express their concern over the lack of charges filed.
An investigative report submitted by a deputy with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office states Pevely Police Chief Charles "Tony" Moutray assaulted his wife in their Festus home on Saturday, Nov. 17 before 11 p.m.
The report states Moutray and his wife, with whom he had been with for ten years, got into a verbal fight over the state of their relationship that escalated into physical violence.
Both parties told the deputy, they were resting in their bed. Moutray's wife said she leaned over to look at Moutray's phone because she was suspicious he may be communicating with another woman.
She told the deputy, Moutray grabbed her by the neck, pulled her over his body causing her to fall off the bed striking her head and neck on the wall and floor. Moutray told the deputy his wife fell off the bed while the two wrestled over possession of the cellphone.
Both parties said Moutray then gave his wife his cellphone, and she went into another room to look at it, locking the door behind her.
Moutray told the deputy, he struck the door with his knee, putting a large hole in the door, then reached his hand into the room to unlock the door. There was another altercation.
Moutray's wife said he grabbed her ponytail and dragged her to the ground. She said, at some point, she was struck in the ear. The deputy noted redness, swelling, and what appeared to be dried blood on her ear.
Moutray told the deputy, he placed his hand on his wife's neck and forcefully moved her, then used his free hand to take back the cellphone.
Moutray then left the property and went to the parking lot of a church.
The deputy noted there was enough probable cause to pursue Domestic Assault in the Fourth Degree, a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.
The report was submitted to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney, but no charges were filed.
A candlelight vigil was held ahead of Monday's city meeting. Moutray's wife did not attend, but her attorney showed in her place. Attorney Danielle Pelot told Fox 2/News 11 the victim is doing okay but is very frightened.
"One day at a time," said Pelot. "She's doing her best to get through this and keep her child as protected from all this as possible."
Cheryl Summers, domestic violence survivor, and advocate and organizer of the vigil said statistically one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence.
"One of the biggest fears of all survivors in not being believed," said Summers. "Usually by the time someone reaches out for help, the abuse has been going on a long time so it's a big concern if a victim reached out for help, local police validated her story, and to see the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's office not taking action is very disappointing."
The investigative report notes Moutray's wife said the couple had "never had any issues" before that night. Pelot would not speak about the specifics of the incident or whether it had happened before.
At the start of the meeting, Pevely Mayor Stephanie Haas announced Moutray had been put on paid administrative leave indefinitely pending a third-party investigation. Haas added, "the board, in no way, condones acts of violence."
Attorney Greg P. White has been hired to conduct the third-party investigation.