Fire chief pleads no contest to assault on police chiefOLIVET — A Delmont man pleaded no contest to assaulting a law enforcement officer who was allegedly having an affair with the man’s wife.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
OLIVET — A Delmont man pleaded no contest to assaulting a law enforcement officer who was allegedly having an affair with the man’s wife.
Elmer Goehring, 42, received a suspended 180-day jail sentence and an order to not consume alcohol or break any laws for one year Thursday in the Hutchinson County Courthouse at Olivet.
Goehring, who did not appear but was represented by his attorney, Mike Fink, was also ordered by Judge Steve Jensen to pay $500 in fines and court costs. Fink delivered a check immediately following sentencing.
Goehring, the Delmont fire chief, was also ordered to complete anger management counseling which has already been completed, according to documentation presented during sentencing.
Fink entered Goehring’s plea of no contest to simple assault as part of a plea bargain. Goehring was originally charged with one count of burglary and two counts of simple assault.
According to a report from the Douglas County Sheriff ’s Office, Goehring entered the Armour home of Tim Simonsen in the early morning hours of April 24 and attacked him. Simonsen is the interim chief of police in Wagner and was formerly the sheriff of Douglas County.
The document — which was not part of the public court file but was given anonymously to The Daily Republic and later confirmed by the newspaper as having been written by a sheriff’s deputy — states Goehring had accused Simonsen of having an affair with Goehring’s wife, Jessica Goehring.
According to the report, labeled “Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Supplement Report,” Jessica Goehring told Deputy Rob Hotchkiss she and Elmer Goehring had been at a bar. Goehring allegedly demanded to return home once he saw that Tim and Janel Simonsen were at the same bar.
“When they got home, Jessica dropped him off and went back to the bar,” the report states. “Jessica stated that Mr. Goehring was not happy with her decision.”
The report states that Jessica Goehring went to the Simonsen residence in Armour to use the restroom and get some water as the bar was closing.
Shortly after a phone conversation in which Jessica informed Elmer of her location, Elmer “came storming in to the Simonsen residence thru (sic) the side door and went right past her,” according to the report.
During sentencing Thursday, Douglas County State’s Attorney Craig Parkhurst said Goehring then grabbed Simonsen, pushed his face down on the kitchen table and began repeatedly punching Simonsen in the back of his head and neck.
The assault ended when Simonsen’s son struck Goehring, according to Parkhurst.
The supplement report said two end tables were smashed. Vertical blinds were also damaged.
Though the supplement report was not part of the official criminal file, the file does contain an affidavit from Armour Police Chief Neal Moad that gives a shorter overview of the incident. Moad’s report contains no mention of an alleged affair.
It’s not uncommon to put only one report in the court file, Parkhurst said.
“I can’t think of a case that I’ve filed field reports other than the affidavit,” Parkhurst said. “You can look at any other case file. You’re not going to find witness statements or any of that stuff.”
Parkhurst said items like the supplement report are not openly accessible to the public, but the sheriff’s department may choose to release the reports. Someone faxed the report Wednesday to The Daily Republic from the Douglas County Courthouse and then called The Daily Republic to alert the newspaper to the faxed document. The caller did not identify himself but said the document was a report from Deputy Rob Hotchkiss. The Daily Republic later confirmed that Hotchkiss was the author of the report.
Douglas County Sheriff Troy Strid and Deputy Rob Hotchkiss both said Thursday they did not send the report to The Daily Republic.
Strid defeated Simonsen and Moad in a June 2010 election to become the Douglas County sheriff. Since then, Strid has pleaded not guilty to embezzling county property. He was arrested April 12 by a South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation special agent after a three-month investigation into allegations he took items belonging to either Douglas County or the city of Delmont.
In 2009, then-Sheriff Simonsen was investigated by the state Division of Criminal Investigation. Though few details emerged, Simonsen eventually admitted to urinating on the side of the road while not on duty and described the incident as “a poor judgment call.”