MILLERSVILLE, Md. — Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ronald Bateman appeared in court Monday morning on a misdemeanor charge for the assault of his wife.
Bateman, who has served as the county’s elected sheriff for 10 years, was released on his own recognizance. He denies that he hit his wife but admitted to police that he held her down during an argument and that alcohol was involved.
He was arrested Sunday night after police were called to his Pasadena house for a report of domestic violence. Police saw visible injuries to his wife’s face and lips and said that an exterior door was damaged during a fight that broke out between the couple after dinner.
“No criminal actions took place just a very emotional argument between a husband and wife. I love my wife dearly and I am confident she loves me,” Bateman, 54, said in a statement released Monday afternoon. “I am committed to working through this with her through counseling to address the issues that transpired yesterday evening.”
Bateman said that he would return to work “in an administrative capacity only.” Colonel Rick Tabor will handle the day-to-day operations in the sheriff’s office, he said.
In Maryland, elected sheriffs and their deputies have full police powers. Police took Bateman’s gun and badge when he was arrested Sunday.
Anne Arundel County Police, a separate agency from the sheriff’s office, continues to investigate and Chief Timothy Altomare said that the sheriff will not receive any special treatment.
“We still have a lot of work to do here. This is a very fluid and active investigation,” Altomare said.
He said the police department will investigate the case and present it to the state’s attorney’s office just like any other domestic violence investigation.
“From the moment the first officers got there, we’ve been making sure we’re doing the right thing … It’s been very important to us as a police department that we did the right thing for the right reasons at the right moment in this incident,” Chief Altomare said. “Everybody has a right to be treated the same way we would treat anybody else.”
Altomare said he is not aware of any previous domestic violence-related calls to the couple’s home.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Bateman’s wife, Elsie, told police that the couple argued after dinner and that her husband told her to leave the house.
She said she was leaving and grabbed Ronald Bateman’s money clip because he had “cut her money off.”
As the couple argued, Ronald Bateman threw his wife onto their bed and held her down, as witnessed by a 14-year-old family member.
Bateman’s wife told police she slapped her husband in the face. He threw her into a wall, where she hit the back of her head, before he hit her in the left side of her face and mouth.
In his report, county police Cpl. P.D. Grossman wrote, “I saw very slight redness along Ms. Bateman’s left cheek near her eye. The blood vessels in her left eye appeared to be busted and Ms. Bateman had a small swollen spot on the left side of her lower lip.”
Grossman writes that Ronald Bateman acknowledged he had been drinking before the incident.
However, Bateman “said he did not strike Ms. Bateman at any time, but said he did hold her down on the bed in an effort to retrieve the money clip she had taken without his permission.”
Bateman’s wife told officers she would seek medical treatment on her own.
In a separate news release, Rick Tabor included a personal testimonial in support of Bateman:
“I have known Sheriff Bateman for over 30 years. I have never known the sheriff to be a violent person. Sheriff Bateman adamantly denies any wrongdoing in this matter.
This case is now in the hands of the judicial system and I will make no further comment until this case is adjudicated.”
Before becoming sheriff, Bateman served 20 years with the Anne Arundel County Police Department.
WTOP’s Amanda Iacone contributed to this report from Washington.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Elsie Bateman’s name.