LaFayette teacher arrested for domestic violence for fourth time this year

LaFayette teacher arrested for domestic violence for fourth time this year

October 17th, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Breaking News

Robert Forester

Robert Forester

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A LaFayette (Ga.) High School special education teacher and former football coach was arrested Monday in a domestic violence case.

Robert Sam Forester is charged with aggravated assault after his ex-wife told a Walker County Sheriff's Office investigator that he attacked her with a box cutter. The officer wrote in a report that she had three superficial cuts on her neck when paramedics and EMTs arrived.

Forester denied his ex-wife's account, according to an incident report. He said she was actually harassing him. He said she called him to his home (where she is living) on Oak Hill Circle in LaFayette on Saturday afternoon, asking him to bring her cat. She then asked for supplies for the pet, and he returned with the stuff she asked for. (Forester later gave investigators a receipt showing purchases for pet supplies.)

When he returned to the house, he said, she tried to have sex with him. He said he tried to walk away, but she ripped his shirt off his body. An officer wrote in a report that Forester showed him the shirt, which was, in fact, ripped.

He also told officers his ex-wife called him 33 times and threatened to accuse him of assault if he did not answer. He played a voicemail for the investigators, in which his ex-wife told him she would have him arrested if he did not call back.

Forester's mother told investigators that his ex-wife called her four times, telling his mother she would call the police if Forester did not call her back.

An officer told Forester to stop sending text messages or making phone calls to his ex-wife. An officer also gave his ex-wife contact information for services for domestic violence victims seeking help.

The sheriff's office charged Forester with aggravated assault.

This is Forester's fourth arrest this year on domestic violence charges against his ex-wife. The arrests stem from their divorce, which a judge signed off on late last year.

As part of the divorce, Forester's ex-wife was allowed to stay at his house through Jan. 31. As of March, she was still there. On April 1, Forester went before a judge, seeking an order that would allow officers to arrest her if she remained at the house.

The judge gave her a new deadline: April 14. But before that day ever came, a neighbor called the police, complaining about Forester and his ex-wife arguing in the driveway.

Forester had a bite mark; his ex-wife had a couple of small red marks on her arm from being held tightly. Both accused the other of a violent attack. The sheriff's office charged both with simple battery, a misdemeanor.

In June, the sheriff's office charged Forester with simple battery again after he allegedly stepped on his ex-wife's arm during another argument. In September, the sheriff's office charged him with aggravated assault after his ex-wife accused him of grabbing her throat and banging her head against a wall.

Walker County Schools Superintendent Damon Raines moved Forester from the classroom after the third arrest, reasoning that it was his first felony charge. He also removed him from the LaFayette High School football team, where he served as an assistant coach. Raines said Forester kept him in the loop with each arrest.

Raines did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

Forester's attorney, David Cunningham, said his client "adamantly and vehemently denies" he assaulted his ex-wife. He accused her of lying to the police to put Forester in jail, costing him his job, because she is bitter about the divorce.

He said Tuesday afternoon Forester would be stuck in jail without a bond until going before a Superior Court judge.

"If that's how this system works," Cunningham said Tuesday afternoon, "that anybody can just present themselves as a victim and somebody winds up in jail, probably losing his job as a teacher, I'm more than livid."

Forester, meanwhile, told his bosses in April that his ex-wife is "like a drug" to him, according to his personnel file.

His ex-wife provided the Times Free Press with pictures of bruises on her body. She said they are proof her claims are legitimate, though she also does not want to go to a domestic violence shelter. She said nobody would be able to take care of her pets.

"I foolishly believed he was getting help and changed," she told the Times Free Press on Sunday in a text message. "He begged me to give him a chance and asked me to help lesson [sic] the other charges. I know I was stupid."

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


This story was updated Oct. 17 at 11:10 p.m.