Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Steamboat Springs A heated argument that started because of pin replacement at a Steamboat Springs golf course has resulted in a 60-year-old Steamboat Springs woman being charged with harassment.
The alleged victim — John Chapman, a 35-year-old Denver man who was in Steamboat for a golf vacation — said Wednesday that he was not happy with the woman only getting a stern talking to by police and that he wanted charges filed. He claims the woman, Steamboat resident Mary Effinger, hit him three times in the face Sunday on the No. 12 hole at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club during an argument that started after his group apparently had left the flag tilted in the cup on previous holes.
“I want her to pick up garbage on the side of (U.S. Highway) 40 for a weekend or work in a soup kitchen,” Chapman said. “She needs to come down a few pegs.”
Steamboat Springs Police Department Capt. Jerry Stabile said Effinger was served Wednesday with a summons to appear in municipal court on suspicion of misdemeanor harassment.
When reached by phone Wednesday evening, Effinger said she had been unable to contact her attorney, whom she wanted to speak with before talking about the incident.
According to Chapman and a police report obtained through a public records request, Effinger, a longtime Rollingstone member, obviously was upset when she confronted the group on the No. 12 hole.
Chapman said that Effinger asked them if they had ever played golf before and that she was upset because they did not replace the pin properly. Chapman said they apologized, but “she just wouldn’t let it go.”
Chapman admits he helped escalate the situation by calling Effinger an offensive name three times. He said that Effinger then slapped him and that he grabbed her wrist for a few seconds. When he let go, he said, she “punched me with a closed fist as hard as she could." Effinger later punched Chapman a second time.
“You can’t just hit someone like that. It’s ridiculous,” he said.
He reported the incident to police at about 2:30 p.m., and an officer contacted Effinger on the course.
Effinger told the officer she hit Chapman three times and was called the insulting name three times, according to the police report prepared by officer Bill Stucker.
“Mary explained she had never been called that name before,” Stucker wrote. “I explained to Mary that it was not appropriate for him to call her a (expletive), (and) she should not have hit him. ... I told Mary no criminal charges would be filed.”
Chapman said he was upset when he learned Effinger was not facing charges.
“If I would have attempted to hit her in the face or even graze her with a knuckle, I would have spent the night in jail,” Chapman said.
Stabile said Wednesday that miscommunication led Stucker to think Chapman did not want to pursue charges.
“Something got lost in translation,” Stabile said.
He said that Stucker later spoke with Chapman and that the harassment summons was issued after Chapman told him he wanted charges to be filed.
The police report indicates Chapman and Effinger had been drinking, but it does not specify whether they were drunk. Chapman said Wednesday that he had not been drinking.
To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com