Rumors to Rest

Prosecutorial candidates spar over Telgenhof police reports

By: Benjamin J. Gohs, News Editor

Chris Faulknor, Publisher

In response to a recent onslaught by numerous members of the public requesting information regarding alleged incidences of domestic disturbance involving Charlevoix County Prosecutorial candidate Allen Telgenhof, the Boyne City Gazette executed two Freedom of Information Act requests: one to the Antrim County Sheriff Department and one to the Charlevoix County Prosecutor’s office.

Both counties provided police reports detailing two separate accounts of the police having been called to Telgenhof’s residences: once in 2010 in Antrim County and once in 2011 in Charlevoix County.

While neither case resulted in arrests or charges, Telgenhof, in order to set the record straight,  agreed to sit down with the Boyne City Gazette and open up about the incidents in question.

“My wife Judy and I have been married for 25 years and have four great kids,” Allen said. “Like a lot of couples, we have had our ups and downs.”

On Saturday Aug. 21, 2010, an Antrim County Sheriff Deputy was dispatched to a cabin in Forest Home Township to investigate a complaint.

The alleged domestic dispute occurred between Allen and his wife Judy Telgenhof.

Police documents show multiple calls were placed to 9-1-1 on that date.

The first police report reveals Judy as the suspect but the name of the victim has been redacted from the report.

During an interview with Allen, he confirmed that he was listed as the alleged victim of the incident.

According to police documents, Allen thought he saw his wife communicating with someone using a phone he did not recognize. He asked her with whom she was speaking and Judy told Allen she did not have her phone.

According to witnesses Allen grabbed Judy’s phone at which point Judy jumped on Allen’s back.

During the scuffle Judy resulted in a swollen lip while Allen was reported to have a four to five inch red mark on his neck.

Both Allen and Judy reported not knowing how each received their injuries, though Judy said she likely bit her lip during the struggle.

The responding officer asked if there had been any punching, pushing, slapping or other physical actions to which Judy said “no.”

No one was arrested and the complaint was not pursued by the Antrim County Prosecuting Attorney for “lack of evidence” that any crime had occurred.

The second complaint of alleged domestic disturbance occurred on May 21, 2011, in Charlevoix County at the Telgenhof’s main residence.

According to Judy’s written statement to the Charlevoix County Sheriff Office dated May 21, 2011, she was sitting on the living room couch when Allen entered the room accusing her of texting an old boyfriend on another phone.

“He tackled me on the couch and held me down preventing me from getting my cell phone,” Judy wrote. “He was reaching in my shirt and down in the couch trying to find my cell phone. I tried many many times to get up and to scream, but Allen kept shoving his hand over my mouth to prevent me from screaming for help.”

She added, “I could not breathe. When he would take his hand off my mouth, I would again scream and he put it back on again. He also bit me at least three times.”

Judy’s statement goes on to say that she told Allen she wanted her phone to call 9-1-1 but that, “he prevented me from doing that.”

Judy’s statement reveals that Allen allegedly told Judy he “knew the law” and that “as long as I wasn’t in the process of making a call that he would not be in trouble for not letting me have my phone to call 9-1-1.”

Judy stated she continued to try to reach her phone but was unable.

“Many times I was unable to breathe,” Judy wrote. “He told me no one would help me.”

Finally, Judy wrote, Allen let her up but would not give her back her cell phone.

She then used the house phone to call 9-1-1.

Police arrived and spoke with both Judy and Allen.

No arrests were made and the complaint was sent to the Charlevoix County Prosecuting Attorney’s office for consideration.

Due to a working relationship between Charlevoix County Prosecutor John Jarema and Allen, who is an attorney, Jarema opted to send the case to a neighboring prosecutor for consideration.

According to Allen the complaint was not pursued for lack of evidence that any crime had occurred.

Allen and Judy responded to questions regarding this matter in a written statement to the Boyne City Gazette.

“We are stunned that a friend of ours from our small group at church, John Jarema, would betray us by publicizing things discussed in our church prayer group to smear me in an attempt to win votes for public office,” Allen stated. “There were no arrests, no charges and nothing that would support or justify Jarema’s betrayal.”

He further stated, “By reviewing county phone records I have learned that Jarema used his county office and phone, on county time, to try to dig up dirt on me. This began the very day I filed to run against him.”

Allen added, “This incident reveals much more about Jarema’s character than mine. It is just one more desperate attempt by him to distract from the problems he has created during his time as prosecutor.”

Judy stated that she loves and supports Allen completely.

“He is a great husband and father and a good person who would never hurt me or anyone,” she said.

Jarema responded to Allen’s claims of betrayal in a written statement to the Boyne City Gazette.

“Obviously this is a very troubling and serious situation. My wife and I do attend a small church prayer group and these incidents were never brought up or discussed. Nor did I bring this to the attention of the media,” Jarema stated. “Let me be very clear, I am running this campaign based on merit. Experience matters. I find it interesting that instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, which Mr. Telgenhof doesn’t deny, he now wants to distract from the real issue.”

Jarema further stated, “Mr. Telgenhof also wants to attack my character based on his behavior. It was the choices he made that prompted police involvement and community members to be so concerned that they apparently brought this to the forefront. The fact that this information is public is a direct result of Mr. Telgenhof’s choice to run for prosecutor and to have his personal life and the choices he makes scrutinized by the public and the media.”

Jarema added, “The only act of desperation is Mr. Telgenhof’s attempt to minimize (the situation) and to spin this politically in his favor. It is unfortunate that this incident happened to the Telgenhof family. I hope that they can move on as a family.”

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