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DA: Child assault case involving police captain will proceed

911 call: 'My husband just assaulted my daughter. He's drunk'

DA: Child assault case involving police captain will proceed

BEAUFORT, CARTERET COUNTY - The district attorney has announced that the prosecution will proceed in the case of a Beaufort police captain accused of assaulting his 10-year-old stepdaughter.

District Attorney Scott Thomas said late Thursday afternoon that he has reviewed the case of State of North Carolina v. Robert Dunn, and concludes that based on the evidence, he agrees with the magistrate that a crime did occur.

Dunn, 46, a captain of the Beaufort Police Department, was arrested by the Carteret County Sheriff's Office on Sunday. According to warrants, Dunn slapped his 10-year-old stepdaughter on the right side of her head.

Dunn has been charged with one count of misdemeanor "assault on a child under 12."

Dunn's wife, Tara Keys Dunn, called 911 after the alleged incident occurred. But she has since requested that the charge against her husband be dropped, saying it was a big misunderstanding.

However, Thomas said he has reviewed the investigator's file, the warrants, listened to 911 calls, and spoke with Tara. Based on those pieces of evidence, Thomas issued the following statement Thursday:

"In this case, the magistrate found probable cause that a crime occurred and, based upon the evidence presented to him, issued a warrant. I concur with the magistrate's finding. The prosecution of this case will proceed and it will be handled pursuant to normal court process. No further statement will be made at this time as to the facts, since this is a pending criminal court case and the investigation is ongoing."

During Tara's 911 call Sunday, she alleged that Dunn was "stoned drunk" when he assaulted her 10-year-old daughter. The suspect can be heard in the background.

(CLICK HERE: Listen to the full 911 call.)

Tara: "My husband just assaulted my daughter. He's drunk, he's stoned drunk. He just came into the room and slapped her across the face while she was sleeping."

Robert: [Inaudible].

Tara: "Yeah, you did, and your hand print is all over her face."

Robert: "No..."

Tara: "It is. And let me tell you something. No, you slapped her across the face."

911 Operator: "Ma'am, ma'am."

Tara: "Please Hurry. Oh, you're dead now.

Robert: "I didn't do anything."

Tara: "No , you came in here and slapped a 10-year-old little girl. You did, and you are so ****ing drunk, you don't even know it. Oh my God."

911 Operator: "Alright, we are dispatching law enforcement. I need you to answer two more questions for me."

Tara: "You know what, you wanted it, you got it now. You can do what ever you want to me, but you don't touch her."

911 Operator: "Ma'am, ma'am. How long ago did this happen?"

Tara: "Just now. Oh, they're coming. And I'm going to file charges against you this time."

Robert: "I didn't do anything"

Tara: "You did. Her tooth is loose!"

911 Operator: "Ma'am, ma'am."

Tara: "You can do what you want to me, but you do not do it to her."

911 Operator: "Ma'am, can you guys separate yourselves?"

Tara: "You made your last mistake! You do not put your hands on her!"

911 Operator: "Ma'am, ma'am. Can you guys separate yourselves?"

Tara: "And he's drunk. He's not going to go anywhere."

(CLICK HERE to hear the rest of the 911 call.)

Tara has since told NewsChannel 12 that the 911 call was the result of a misunderstanding, and she wants the charges against her husband dropped.

Tara said Dunn was playing with her daughter when he went to give her a high five. However, the child moved in the midst of the high five, causing Dunn to accidentally touch the child's face, Tara said.

Tara said she was in a neighboring room when it happened, and didn't get both sides of the story before she called 911.

"My husband did not assault my daughter. This incident happened at 3 a.m. in the morning. I did not have all of the facts. It is my fault, entirely, before speaking with my daughter and getting everything cleared up," Tara said. "I did jump the gun and I thought he did it. And after speaking to both of them, I realized that I made a terrible mistake."

Beaufort Town Manager Charlie Burgess told NewsChannel 12 that Dunn has been put on paid administrative leave from the Police Department.

Dunn has been released on bond. His court date is scheduled for May 6.

Authorities said the 10-year-old girl is staying with relatives in another county,


PREVIOUS STORY:

An incident report from the Carteret County Sheriff's Office shows the Beaufort police captain charged with assault on a 10-year-old girl was involved in a prior domestic dispute a month before.

The incident report states that Carteret County deputies arrived at the home of Captain Robert Dunn on the night of March 26th.

The report states that Dunn and his wife, Tara, had been arguing for several hours. In the report, deputies say Tara told authorities Dunn "shoved her making her fall backwards and hit the table in the dining area."

The report also states Robert Dunn started assembling Tara's clothes and belongings "in trash bags and putting them outside on the porch and telling her she was going to have to leave."

The report also states that Robert Dunn "had been consuming alcohol."

We asked the Carteret County Sheriff's Office how this incident was handled. Authorities said the dispute from one month ago resulted in no action needing to be taken by deputies that responded. 

The report stated that deputies saw no signs of physical assault and that both parties said they had no marks, cuts or bruises. The report also states Dunn left the home after the incident, until the next day.

On Sunday, Dunn was arrested after warrants allege that Dunn slapped a 10-year-old-girl on the right side of her head. The 46-year-old Dunn was charged with one count of misdemeanor "assault on a child under 12," investigators said.

Dunn's wife says the girl involved in the incident is her daughter and that the charge is a misunderstanding.

Authorities say the 10-year-old girl is staying with relatives in another county, 

Dunn's first court appearance will be on May 6th.

PREVIOUS STORY:

A Beaufort police captain has been put on paid administrative leave after being charged with assault on a child. But the officer's wife told NewsChannel 12 the charge is the result of a misunderstanding.

Beaufort Town Manager Charlie Burgess said Wednesday morning that Capt. Robert Douglas Dunn of the Beaufort Police Department is on paid administrative leave.

The Carteret County Sheriff's Office said deputies arrested Dunn on Sunday. Warrants allege that Dunn slapped a 10-year-old-girl on the right side of her head. The 46-year-old Dunn was charged with one count of misdemeanor "assault on a child under 12," investigators said.

But Dunn's wife, Tara Dunn, told NewsChannel 12 that the incident was a misunderstanding. Tara said Dunn was playing with her daughter when he went to give her a high five. However, the child moved in the midst of the high five, causing Dunn to accidentally touch the child's face, Tara said.

Tara said she was in a neighboring room when it happened, and didn't get both sides of the story before she called 911.

"My husband did not assault my daughter. This incident happened at 3 a.m. in the morning. I did not have all of the facts. It is my fault, entirely, before speaking with my daughter and getting everything cleared up," Tara said. "I did jump the gun and I thought he did it. And after speaking to both of them, I realized that I made a terrible mistake."

According to Tara, when Carteret County deputies arrived at the home, she was put under pressure.

"He told me that if I didn't take out charges against my husband, that he would get 'DSS all up in my business.' Those were his direct words. And I felt bullied and pressured into taking out charges against my husband that are not fair
and inaccurate," said Tara.

Tara said she is trying to get the charge against Dunn dropped. The decision on whether to drop the charge will be decided by the District Attorney's Office.

Dunn has been released on bond since his arrest, deputies said. His court date is scheduled for May 6.

PREVIOUS STORY:

A Beaufort police captain has been charged with assault on a child for allegedly slapping the head of a 10-year-old girl.

According to the Carteret County Sheriff's Office, deputies arrested Captain Robert Douglas Dunn of the Beaufort Police Department on Sunday. The 46-year-old was charged with one count of misdemeanor "assault on a child under 12," investigators said.

Warrants state that Dunn slapped the 10-year-old girl on the right side of her head Sunday.

Dunn has been released on bond, deputies said. His court date is scheduled for May 6.

Officials said Tuesday that Dunn is still employed with the Beaufort Police Department, but there is no word on whether he has been suspended.

NewsChannel 12 is working to get more information.


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