By Alex Bridges -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- A veteran firefighter accused of assaulting his wife in September can have the charge dropped if he completes two treatment programs.
Tyree Scott "Ty" Cather, 54, of 1221 Hollow Road, Gore, appeared in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on Wednesday for a trial on a misdemeanor charge of domestic assault and battery and violating a protective order.
Cather pleaded not guilty to the assault charge but stipulated the commonwealth has sufficient evidence to reach a conviction on the class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a maximum 12-month jail term.
At the time authorities charged Cather, he worked as a lieutenant for the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Department and volunteered as a firefighter and with the Sheriff's Office. Cather remains employed by the Fire and Rescue Department, but has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, according to Deputy County Administrator Jay Tibbs.
An agreement reached between the commonwealth and Cather's attorney, Georgia Lassiter, called for the court to withhold adjudication of the assault charge for two years pending the defendant's successful completion of classes on batterers' prevention and the effect of domestic violence on children. The agreement calls for the court to dismiss the charge in two years upon Cather's completion of the classes and if he remains on good behavior while on first-offender status.
Judge Ian R.D. Williams accepted the agreement, and ordered Cather to appear in the court for a review Aug. 29, and a final disposition of the case Nov. 27, 2013.
Under the agreement, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Dennis J. McLoughlin Jr. asked the court to dismiss the remaining charge.
Court documents accused Cather of assaulting his wife, Jaaska L. Cather, during an argument that turned physical Sept. 11. Cather's wife claims in a criminal complaint that he put his arm around her neck and held her in a headlock. The physical altercation occurred in view of the couple's child, according to the criminal complaint. The wife stated Cather tried to block her car when she tried to leave with their child.
Authorities then charged Cather with violating a protective order on Oct. 6. Court documents state he went to the couple's home to remove some property, including a motorcycle. The court order indicated the wife had sole possession of the home.