French Creek man arrested for felony domestic battery, allegedly violating a protective order

BUCKHANNON – An Upshur County man was arrested Wednesday for domestic battery and violating a protective order after he allegedly called 911 to report that he had been assaulted.

James R. Arbogast, 50, of French Creek, was arrested for third-offense domestic battery, a felony, and violating a protective order, a misdemeanor, on Jan. 12, 2022, in connection to two incidents that allegedly occurred in December 2021 involving the victim.

According to the most recent criminal complaint filed in the Upshur County Magistrate Clerk’s office by investigating officer Trooper First Class P.J. Robinette with the Buckhannon detachment of the West Virginia State Police, on Dec. 30, 2021, Robinette responded to a domestic disturbance complaint on Alton Road after being alerted by the E911 Upshur County Communication Center.

The Comm Center advised officers that the caller, later identified as Arbogast, “was alleging he had been physically assaulted” by a female victim, according to the police report. Arbogast then reportedly told telecommunicators “there was a protective order against him” before becoming agitated, threatening to harm himself if he was taken to jail, and hanging up, the file states.

When Robinette arrived on the property, he found the victim in a camper. The victim had previously filed a protective order against Arbogast. She said she and Arbogast had been involved in a physical altercation after she took a photo of him to prove “he was on her property when he was not supposed to be,” the file says.

According to the report, the two subsequently wrestled for the victim’s phone, and then Arbogast allegedly left with three of the victim’s phones. The victim told police Arbogast had allegedly been at her property the day prior, Dec. 29, but she did not call 911 at that time despite the protective order being in place.

The original felony charge stems from an incident that allegedly took place Dec. 7, 2021, according to a second criminal complaint in the magistrate clerk’s office filed by Upshur County Sheriff’s deputy Cole Bender. That report says at approximately 3 a.m. Dec. 7, the Comm Center dispatched Bender to a residence on Alton Road after receiving a phone call from the same female victim during which telecommunicators heard arguing.

When law enforcement arrived on scene, the victim told Bender Arbogast had entered the camper when she was asleep and began arguing with her.

The file says he also allegedly “grabbed her by the arm and started pushing her backward,” and Bender found red markings on the victim’s right forearm and left hand that corroborated her story, the criminal complaint says. According to the file, Arbogast was charged with domestic battery, third offense, after officers learned he had two prior domestic battery convictions with dates of May 30, 2013, and Nov. 19, 2004.

As of Thursday evening, Arbogast remained incarcerated in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on a $7,500 cash-only bond.

The penalty for a conviction of third-offense domestic battery is imprisonment in the state penitentiary for not less than one year nor more than five years, a fine of up to $2,500, or both. Violating a protective order carries a penalty of confinement for not than a day nor more than a year in jail and a fine ranging between $250 and $2,000.

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