Police officer enters plea in domestic-assault case
A Southwestern Regional Police officer accused of assaulting his wife has had a criminal charge against him dropped after pleading to a lesser offense.
Bryn Lindenmuth on Friday pleaded no contest to harassment, which is a summary offense akin in seriousness to a traffic ticket.
In exchange for the plea, a count of misdemeanor simple assault was dismissed, court records state. A charge of false imprisonment had been withdrawn at the time of his scheduled preliminary hearing.
Lindenmuth was ordered to pay a $100 fine, court records state.
Senior deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy said it had been agreed that if Lindenmuth successfully completed alcohol counseling, the prosecution would allow him to plead to the summary offense and drop the misdemeanor assault charge.
"That was based, in large part, on the victim not wanting to proceed with the case at all," Murphy said. "But based on the evidence, we didn't think that would be an appropriate resolution."
He said the alleged victim wanted the charges dropped, and the prosecutor confirmed that's a common problem in prosecuting domestic-assault cases.
Murphy said the hope is that the counseling Lindenmuth received will have an impact that's greater than simply withdrawing charges.
Still on unpaid leave: The plea does not mean Lindenmuth, 34, is automatically back on the job, according to Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean.
Lindenmuth remains on unpaid administrative leave, the chief confirmed.
Now that the criminal case is closed, the department can finish its internal review, he said.
"An internal review is in progress to (determine) if any of our policies were violated and if the employee is fit for duty," Bean said. "We have to make sure, obviously, that all of our employees are up to the task each day for the demands asked of them."
No timetable: The chief said there is no timetable as to when the internal review will be complete, but that once it is, he will release the findings.
"We want to be as open as we can about these things," Bean said.
Southwestern Regional's police board will make a decision about any disciplinary action, the chief has said.
Defense attorney Chris Ferro did not return a phone message seeking comment.
The background: Court documents stated Lindenmuth physically assaulted Kalina Lindenmuth in their West Manchester Township home July 17.
She returned home from a cookout the night before, after which Bryn Lindenmuth took her keys and yelled at her, documents state.
He followed her inside while still yelling, then took her cellphone, ripped her tank top and bra, scratched her and tore apart her sandals, court documents alleged. He also ripped up photos of the two of them together, West Manchester Township Police have said.
Bryn Lindenmuth pushed over a recliner while his wife was sitting in it, pushed her and tried to throw her through a sliding-glass door, documents state.
"Bryn used substantial force, using his elbow and jammed it down hard on her shoulder in an attempt to knock her down," documents state.
Ran to neighbor: Kalina Lindenmuth tried to get back inside their home, but her husband "kept blocking her path and grabbed her arms and started to force her backward to possibly fall down the steps," documents state.
She was able to run to a neighbor's home, where she called 911, police said. They allege the domestic incident lasted from about 11 p.m. until 3 a.m.
Kalina Lindenmuth told officers she was scared of what her husband might do if she called police, documents state. An officer helped her obtain an emergency PFA that night, according to documents, but a few days later she withdrew her PFA request.
Attorney Penny Ayers, who represented Kalina Lindenmuth, has said her client was happy to put the matter to rest and was looking forward to working on taking care of her family.
About the officer: Bryn Lindenmuth was named 2015 York County Officer of the Year in May by the York County Police Heritage Museum.
He has been with Southwestern Regional Police for 11 years, and during that time he received 21 awards and commendations.
He also is a drug-recognition expert and a member of the York County Drug Task Force, serving as a liaison for his department, officials have said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.