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Charge against Lance stands

July 23, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Jefferson County magistrate refused Tuesday to drop a domestic battery charge against County Commissioner R. Gregory Lance that stemmed from a struggle between Lance and his son at a bowling alley in March.

In his motion to have the case dropped, Lance cited a West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services decision that there was no reason for the agency to become involved in the case.

Jefferson County Magistrate Katherine Santucci also denied Lance's motion to have the charge put on the court's inactive docket for 90 days.

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Lance declined to comment after the hearing.

The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has stepped aside to avoid a conflict of interest and Morgan County prosecutor David Savasten has been selected to handle the case.

The Jefferson County prosecutors also serve as the county attorneys.

Lance, 41, of Ranson, W.Va., was charged on March 20 by West Virginia State Police.

On the night of March 9, Lance and his 13-year-old son were at the Shenandoah Lanes at Charles Town with other family members, according to charging documents.

Lance and his son began to argue over the boy's bowling, leading to the boy cursing at his father, charging documents said.

Lance grabbed his son's collar, causing several bruises on the boy's neck, according to charging documents.

Lance and his son then went out into the parking lot. The boy told a trooper that his father threw him against the side of the building and then knocked him down in the gravel parking lot, charging documents said.

The boy then ran into the bowling alley and asked to call for state police, charging documents said.

Lance said after he was charged that he had intended to correct his angry son's behavior.

"The action I took was to attempt to discipline him. I grabbed the collar of his shirt and restrained him from running out of the parking lot of the bowling alley onto Route 340," Lance said.

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