Thursday, September 23, 2004

Officer charged with hitting wife

Lebanon force puts him on paid leave

By Reid Forgrave and Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writers

MIAMI TWP. - A Lebanon police officer is on paid administrative leave after Miami Township police charged him with assaulting his wife.

Officer Larry Loveless, 33, of Miami Township, was arrested over the weekend outside his Clermont County home, police said Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence and is due back in court next month.

Miami Township police say he and his wife were driving back from a White Castle restaurant shortly after 4 a.m. Sunday when they began arguing.

The argument became physical, and while police say they don't know who hit whom first, they say both assaulted each other and Lisa Loveless wound up with a swollen left eye.

Both Larry and Lisa Loveless declined to press charges. But because of the visible bruises, police say, they were obligated to charge Larry Loveless.

"When it's obvious there are injuries, we have no choice but to arrest," Miami Township Police Chief Steven Bailey said, adding that alcohol was a contributing factor in the altercation.

Loveless did not return calls requesting comment Wednesday.

Loveless, who has no criminal record in Miami Township, has been with the Lebanon police department since January 1997. He has been put on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation, Lebanon City Manager Pat Clements said Wednesday.

"The investigation is ongoing as per our internal procedures," he said.

A copy of Loveless' personnel file was not available late Wednesday.

However, Enquirer files show that in 1998, local and state officials praised Loveless for crawling through a burning building and rescuing an 8-year-old autistic boy.

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