Cleveland Hero Was A Repeat Domestic Abuser
Charles Ramsey battered his wife, did prison time
MAY 8--The Cleveland man credited with helping free female captives from a house of horrors is a convicted felon whose rap sheet includes three separate domestic violence convictions that resulted in prison terms, court records show.
Charles Ramsey, whose 911 call and subsequent TV interviews have made him a microcelebrity, was once a repeat spousal abuser whose marriage ended in divorce following a 2003 felony conviction for battering his wife.
Ramsey, 43, has said that when he heard captive Amanda Berry screaming and trying to escape from neighbor Ariel Castro’s home on Monday, "I figured it’s a domestic violence dispute.” Ramsey has also reportedly said that he went to help Berry because he “was raised to help women in distress.”
Ramsey’s first domestic violence charge came in February 1997. He entered a no contest plea a year later and was found guilty of the count by a Cleveland Municipal Court judge. While waiting to be sentenced, Ramsey was again arrested for domestic violence.
At the time of Ramsey’s second collar, in July 1998, he was already the subject of an arrest warrant issued in connection with his failure to appear for a court hearing in the first domestic violence case. As a result, Ramsey was jailed for violating terms of his release on bond. Ramsey subsequently entered a no contest plea to the second case and was, again, found guilty by a Cleveland judge.
The domestic violence cases apparently were consolidated for sentencing in August 1998, when Ramsey was ordered to serve six months in jail, placed on five years probation, and directed to attend a domestic violence counseling program.
Following his release from custody, Ramsey violated probation terms, according to an April 1999 court docket entry. While an arrest warrant was issued for Ramsey, it is unclear from court records whether it was executed before both misdemeanor cases were formally closed several years later.
Ramsey was again busted for domestic abuse in January 2003. He was subsequently indicted for felony “domestic violence with prior conviction,” a reference to his previous abuse cases.
The 6’ 2”, 230-pound Ramsey’s victim was his wife Rochelle, whom he assaulted in their Cleveland Heights residence. Following Ramsey’s felony collar, a judge issued a protective order covering his wife, the couple’s daughter (who is now 15), and Rochelle’s son from a prior relationship.
According to a Cleveland Heights Police Department report, Rochelle Ramsey twice dialed 911 to report that she was being attacked by her spouse. “My husband is trying to kill me!” Rochelle yelled. During one of the calls, a police operator noted, a male could be heard in the background saying, “I’m going to kill you.”
When cops arrived at the Ramsey residence, Rochelle was “extremely shaken and crying” and had a fresh cut on her face, police reported. During questioning, Charles Ramsey blamed his wife’s assault on a “male in red sweatpants” who fled the home. Rochelle, however, confirmed that she was assaulted by her husband and that no other man had been in the apartment.
In a TSG interview, Rochelle, now remarried, referred to a series of “domestic disputes” that resulted in her ex-husband’s arrests (and which prompted her to file for divorce in September 2003, while Ramsey was incarcerated in state prison). In her divorce complaint, Rochelle accused Ramsey--whom she married on Valentine’s Day in 1995--of “gross neglect of duty” and “extreme cruelty.”
After pleading guilty to the felony abuse charge, Ramsey was sentenced to eight months in prison and ordered, following his release from custody, to be placed on “post release control” supervision for the maximum term allowable by Ohio law.
Ramsey served his time at the Lorain Correctional Institution, where he posed for the above 2003 mug shot. He had previously done two separate one-year stretches at Lorain, for early-90s convictions for drug abuse, criminal trespassing, and receiving stolen property.
Ramsey’s ex-wife Rochelle, who secured a divorce decree after her former spouse was locked up, told TSG that Ramsey eventually apologized for battering her. However, Rochelle said, “The only thing is he never paid child support,” which was mandated at $51 per month in the divorce decree. She added that, “The county has taken his driving privileges away for non-support.”
While Rochelle, a licensed nurse, said that she is on “an okay basis” with Ramsey, the couple’s daughter has a rockier relationship with him, and has even carefully cut her father out of many photos taken at her parents’s wedding.
But a pair of blurry photos of Ramsey, who works as a dishwasher, have survived his daughter’s scissors. Rochelle yesterday posted those two images to her Facebook page, along with the caption “For my daughter sake I show he didn't always look hood ! The young charles ramsey.” (3 pages)