Walter William Wolford Sr., 66, of Hagerstown, was arrested after a bystanders watched in horror as he led his wife around with a dog leash around her neck. Catherine Wolford has late-stage dementia and, according to her husband has run off in danger to herself.
Bystanders said that he yanked the leash to get her to walk but Wolford insists that the leash was originally around her waist and slipped to her neck. Police say that they found red marks around her neck.
He is now charged with one count of simple assault, according to the York Daily Record.
Wolford says that his wife was only given two year to live five years ago, but she is no longer taking the medication because of its lack of benefits. His son Walter Wolford Jr. has given a statement to police that his father was not abusive.
Wolford insists that he did nothing wrong and is not “a monster.” He said he loves his wife and this is the only practical way to take her out. He suggested that the alternative was to leave her confined to the home.
Simply assault under the Pennsylvania code allows for a charge when someone intentionally, knowingly or recklessly attempted to cause bodily injury to another person. This would likely fall under the reckless category.
The case raises a question of the requisite scienter. The assumption is that any restraint would be reckless, particularly if it left a mark. If the leash was around her waist, would it be viewed as assault if his motivation was to control her?