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Wisconsin court documents show blogger Steve Mensing assaulted wife

Steve Mensing, the curator of the blog Rowan Free Press, was charged after a July 7 verbal altercation with his wife turned violent and ended with him smashing her computer, according to Wisconsin court documents.

Mensing, 71, who now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, was charged by Madison police with misdemeanor criminal damage to property, misdemeanor intimidation of a victim, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He was ordered to have no contact with his wife, Maureen Shay Mensing.

Mensing has maintained the Rowan Free Press blog since March 2012. He is still listed as editor in chief and publisher of Rowan Free Press but has not made a blog post since July 7.

A criminal complaint says this is not his first act of domestic violence. The document was filed July 10 with the Dane County Circuit Court in Wisconsin.

The complaint is based on information from a written police report submitted by Madison police Officer Samuel Brier.

According to the complaint, Brier went to the couple’s Fordem Avenue apartment complex at 5:39 p.m. in response to a domestic disturbance after a mail carrier reported hearing a woman scream.

The mail carrier said she heard a woman call for help. According to the 911 call, the mail carrier said someone yelled, “Help me, call police.” About the same time, an officer arrived at the apartment, court records show.

The 911 dispatch notes said the woman whispered that she was in a hallway and naked while a man was in the apartment destroying things. The mail carrier told the officer she heard a woman scream and yell, “Call the police.”

The officer saw an open door into the apartment and found Maureen Mensing sobbing uncontrollably. She was not wearing pants, the report said. A smashed laptop computer was on the floor, the complaint said.

The officer noted that Maureen Mensing’s face was red. She told the officer that may have been because her husband held his elbow against her face. She told the officer her husband was throwing her things around and throwing her around.

Maureen Mensing told police the altercation began when her husband wanted her to stop watching a show on the computer. She told her husband she wanted to watch it, and Mensing picked up the laptop, smashed it against a wall and stomped on it.

The document said the officer saw the smashed computer on the floor.

Maureen Mensing said when her husband smashed her computer, she told him she was going to call the police. When she pulled out her cellphone, she said, her husband ripped it from her hand. She told police that when her husband grabbed the phone, he scratched and tore at her chest area.

He tried to slam the phone against a wall, but she told police she didn’t think it was broken because of her phone protector.

Maureen Mensing told police she ran into the hallway for help even though she wasn’t wearing pants. She said her shoulder was hurt when her husband ripped the phone from her. She told police that she was so disturbed, threatened and shaken that she became sick to her stomach.

“She was eventually able to call 911,” the document said.

Maureen Mensing told police that her husband told her that he didn’t want her to watch the show.

“If you don’t do as I tell you, I’m gonna destroy your stuff,” her husband said, according to the complaint.

She said that her husband once told her that if their relationship were to end, it would happen over his corpse.

Steve Mensing told the police officer that he had told his wife she needed to cut back her computer use. He admitted throwing the computer on the floor.

“I did break it. I admit it. It was stupid,” Steve Mensing told the officer.

When the officer asked if he grabbed his wife, Mensing said, “Not really.”

Court findings

Maureen Mensing signed papers saying she wanted a 72-hour no-contact order enforced. Court documents said her husband had tried to strangle her about a month earlier and smothered her in the mouth area. She told police he once threatened to take her house cat and throw it off the porch.

The court imposed a $100 domestic abuse assessment for each of the offenses because of the nature of the charge and because the violation involved an act by the defendant against his spouse, court documents said.

If convicted of the damage to property, Mensing could face a $10,000 fine or not more than nine months in jail or both.

If convicted of intimidating a victim, he could face a $10,000 fine and be imprisoned for not more than nine months or both.

Court records show that Mensing appeared in court July 10 with his attorney, David J.W. Klauser.

A final pretrial hearing is scheduled Aug. 23.

Mensing did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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