Former Athens County Commissioner Arrested On Domestic Violence Charge

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A former Athens County commissioner who while in office was charged twice with — but not convicted of — domestic violence was arrested Saturday on a charge of domestic violence.

An attorney for Mark Sullivan, 54, entered a written not guilty plea Monday on Sullivan's behalf in Athens County Municipal Court and requested a jury trial. Sullivan was released on a $10,000 signature bond, which means he did not have to post the money to gain his release but could owe it if he fails to appear for court.

Sullivan was arrested Saturday afternoon and released on Monday. 

He is charged with domestic violence against his ex-wife, Tammie Sullivan, accused of shoving her, striking her and pulling her hair. 

Mark Sullivan was arrested by Athens County sheriff's deputies. According to a statement that Deputy Jennifer Atkins filed in court, she determined that Mark Sullivan was the "primary physical aggressor" and she had probable cause to make the arrest.

Mark Sullivan denied to deputies that he assaulted Tammie Sullivan. She admitted clawing his face, but said it was in self-defense, according to sheriff's reports. He claimed that she scratched him without provocation, reports state.

Reports indicate that Tammie Sullivan had injuries, although descriptions differ. They are referred to in reports as cuts on her lip and knee, but also described as bleeding scratches. Athens County Emergency Medical Service was called to the Millfield Road residence where Tammie Sullivan lives and where the incident occurred, but she declined treatment.

Mark Sullivan claimed to deputies that Tammie Sullivan injured herself in order to make it look like an altercation had occurred, a sheriff's report states.

Reports indicate there had been a dispute over the ownership of two jars of marbles, which Mark Sullivan was attempting to remove from the Millfield Road residence where, according to Tammie Sullivan, he had been living until recently.

Deputies were summoned to the residence at 3:12 p.m. by Tammie Sullivan.

Mark Sullivan's two children were at the Millfield residence, and their statements to deputies, as recounted in reports, tend to support his version of events, although deputies concluded the statements by the juveniles were "vague and did not provide much facts."

He was taken into custody at his mother's residence in Nelsonville.

"After advising Mark he was being placed under arrest, he became argumentative and advised he was going to file a civil lawsuit against the county," a report by Deputy John Kulchar states.

Mark Sullivan was taken to Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail.

He had been charged previously with domestic violence against Tammie Sullivan. In 2011, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of persistent disorderly conduct, but claimed afterward that he only did so because he was trying to save his marriage.

In 2012 he was acquitted of a charge of domestic violence in which he had been accused of heat-butting his niece.

Sullivan, while a commissioner, had also been investigated for alleged possession of some marijuana plants. Tammie Sullivan told authorities the plants belonged to her then-husband Mark Sullivan, although she later recanted in an interview with The Messenger and said the plants belonged to someone else. A grand jury decided in August of 2012 not to indict Mark Sullivan in connection with the marijuana.

Sullivan lost the 2012 Democratic primary election to Chris Chmiel, who went on to be elected commissioner.