The Whitman County undersheriff was charged Friday with second-degree assault domestic violence after allegedly breaking a woman’s finger during an argument.
Undersheriff Ron Rockness was not arrested, but is scheduled to appear in Whitman County Superior Court for a preliminary appearance Friday.
Because Rockness is a Whitman County employee, the charge was brought against him by the Asotin County prosecutor to avoid a conflict of interest, according to the Asotin County Prosecutor’s Office.
According to a court document, Whitman County Sheriff Brett Myers in December had been notified by the woman of the incident that allegedly led to her injury.
Myers asked the Clarkston Police Department to investigate. The court documents state police interviewed the woman and she explained that on Dec. 12, she and Rockness began arguing after he tried to “bait her into a fight” at her residence in Rosalia. She recorded some of this argument on her phone and showed the footage to police.
In the court document, the woman stated she was walking through the kitchen with her phone and purse when Rockness allegedly stepped in front of her and would not let her pass. He allegedly grabbed the purse from under her arm and the purse strap became entangled on her fingers. She stated that is when her finger broke.
The court document states the woman did not believe Rockness intended to injure her, but was trying to intimidate her by taking the purse.
The woman stated she took herself to Whitman Hospital and Medical Center in Colfax to have her finger examined.
She sent an email to Myers after she returned home. According to court documents, the email stated that Rockness had been verbally abusive to her before this incident, “and pushed the boundaries physically, but not to this extent.”
The court document states that the woman told police about several previous altercations with Rockness.
During one incident that allegedly occurred in October, the woman stated she had changed the locks on her house after Rockness told her he was moving out. He allegedly went to her house one evening and continuously knocked on the windows and doors to get inside. The woman stated she did not let him in because she was scared.
The woman allegedly showed police video footage of altercations recorded on her phone.
The court document states the woman told the police officer that she was afraid to report these issues out of fear of going to jail.
Myers did not return a call from the Daily News on Monday.