Police: Wrightsville-area man attacked pregnant girlfriend
A Lower Windsor Township man punched his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach and the head so many times she threw up, charging documents allege.
"An ambulance responded and transported her to Lancaster General Hospital," township Police Chief Tim Caldwell said.
He called the Saturday-morning assault "heinous."
Troy Ames, 38, of Forge Hill Road, remains in York County Prison on $850,000 bail, charged with aggravated assault, aggravated assault of an unborn child, making terroristic threats and two counts of simple assault.
He also is being held on a state parole violation, according to prison records, meaning he couldn't be released even if he were able to post bail.
"That will hopefully allow her time to get her life together," Caldwell said of the 35-year-old woman, who police said is four months pregnant.
911 call: Lower Windsor Township officers rushed to Ames' home about 3:40 a.m. Saturday after a 911 call was made from there, charging documents state. No one on the calling end spoke to 911, but a dispatcher could hear a woman in the background saying, "I'm begging you, I'll make it right," documents state.
The call then disconnected and dispatchers received voicemail when they called back, police said.
"The officers got there as quickly as they could and immediately put this man in handcuffs," the chief said. Ames was taken to the county's central booking unit for arraignment, then transported to prison.
The alleged victim said she was asleep when Ames — who had been out drinking — came home and started beating her up, documents state.
He threatened to kill her and punched her in the stomach several times, police said.
The woman then started protecting her stomach, at which point Ames started punching her in the head, documents allege.
She told officers she was dizzy and had thrown up from being punched repeatedly, according to police.
Defense attorney Kurt Blake, who represents Ames, said he could not immediately comment on the allegations.
Difficult choices: Caldwell said deciding to leave a domestic abuser can be extremely difficult for victims and their children.
"It's a tough thing to deal with," he said. "She's pregnant to this guy and she's being assaulted by him. Now she has to look at what the future holds. ... And it's really hard for a person ... to say, 'I've got to do this on my own now.'"
Caldwell said the emotional and psychological toll also affects police officers, who relive what they see — especially because domestic abuse isn't solved simply "by police showing up and putting handcuffs on someone."
That's part of the answer, he said, but officers can't force abuse victims to leave.
"We see impending doom on the horizon," Caldwell said. "But they (sometimes) want to stay and think the best of their loved one."
Lethality assessment: The chief said his officers provide domestic-violence victims with a victim's rights pamphlet that includes contact numbers for agencies that help victims of domestic violence, such as Access-York.
Also, Caldwell said he is considering having his department utilize a Maryland-based lethality assessment program that's already in use by some police departments in York County.
It provides officers with 11 questions to ask a suspected domestic-violence victim, which help gauge whether the person is at risk of being killed by an intimate partner.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.