Danvers selectman Keith Lucy was arraigned this morning on a simple assault charge stemming from an alleged verbal dust-up with another elected Danvers official at Town Hall on September 6.
Lucy was released on personal recognizance.
Salem District Court Judge Robert Brennan warned Lucy to stay away from the alleged victim in the case, John "Jack" Fratus, who represents Precinct 3 in Town Meeting, between now and his next appearance in court on January 11 for a pre-trial hearing.
Lucy and his attorney, Michael T. Smerczynski, of Peabody, had no comment following the short court appearance, and Lucy has repeatedly refused to speak about the case since it came to light in October that Fratus had lodged a civilian complaint against Lucy five days after the alleged incident.
In his written complaint, Fratus alleges that he was at Town Hall with his wife, Frances, and a friend, Julie Curtis, also of Danvers, to view election results for the state primaries when Lucy entered and "pushed in front of Julie Curtis."
Fratus alleges that when his wife confronted Lucy about his manners, he began yelling at her.
"He was red in the face and looked angry," Fratus wrote in the complaint. "He took a step towards my wife while screaming at her."
Fratus says that he stepped in front of Lucy and told him multiple times to "back off my wife."
He also claims that Lucy told all three of them to "never speak to me again for the rest of your lives," and swung an open palm "within an inch" of his face before leaving Town Hall.
Police did not get involved on the night of the incident and Lucy was never arrested. Simple assault is defined as placing a person in fear without physical contact, according to David Sweeney, the first assistant clerk magistrate at Salem District.
The complaint led to a closed magistrate's hearing on October 15, after which the clerk magistrate decided there was enough probable cause to pursue the matter in court.
At that hearing, Fratus was accompanied by his wife and Curtis, as well as his attorney, John Slattery, of Peabody. Lucy appeared alone, and all parties refused to speak to media afterwards.
Fratus and Slattery were not in the courtroom for Lucy's arraignment. Multiple attempts to reach Slattery, who was a candidate for state Senate in the 2nd Essex District, but lost in the Democratic primary to Joan Lovely on the night of the incident, have been unsuccessful.
Lucy has been a selectman since 2004, and Fratus served on the Finance Committee in between his first term as a Town Meeting member, and his current stint representing Precinct 3. Both have terms set to expire on May 7, 2013.
Multiple calls to Town Manager Wayne Marquis have not been returned, and it is unclear if he was in the building at the time of the alleged incident.
Ryan Mooney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @mooney_ryan.