RHINELANDER (WAOW) – Prosecutors have agreed to dismiss a domestic abuse charge against the longtime superintendent of the Three Lakes School District if he breaks no laws for 90 days, the Oneida County district attorney said Friday.
George Karling, 60, of Minocqua, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct involving domestic abuse in an April 19 incident involving his wife at the couple's home, Oneida County court records say.
The criminal complaint, filed April 21, says the superintendent got “enraged” during an argument with his wife, grabbed her around her neck and pushed her out the front door.
Karling, who has been superintendent at Three Lakes for 25 years, said Friday the case will be dismissed as called for in the deal worked out with prosecutors. “I never hit my wife. I never choked my wife or abused her in any way.”
Oneida County District Attorney Michael Schiek said he expects the deferred prosecution agreement to be signed within two weeks. It will include requirements that Karling seek some anger management counseling.
Schiek said it is a proper resolution of the case given that Karling has no criminal record and his wife wants the prosecution dismissed.
“I am not treating him any differently than anyone else in the same situation,” Schiek said.
Randy Ingram, the president of the Three Lakes School Board, did not immediately return a telephone message Friday.
Mary Karling, 52, said Friday the incident, which occurred early on a Saturday afternoon, wasn't a case of domestic violence. "Absolutely not. It was an argument," she said. "You can't arrest someone for a quarrel."
Under Wisconsin law, an arrest is mandatory in a domestic violence investigation.
The argument at the Karling home involved the couple's teenage daughter, the complaint said.
Police were called by a friend of Karling's wife following a phone call between the two, the complaint said.
Karling said during the argument he took his wife by the arm, put her outside, closed the door and locked it, telling her to stay outside and “cool off.”
When she threatened to call police, he let her back inside, the complaint said.
The wife told an investigator that when she defended her daughter in the argument “George got enraged” and grabbed her around the neck, the complaint said.
Karling left the home and eventually called his wife. “I am sorry I put you outside. I am sorry about that, but you never listen to me. You just say bad things to me,” he told her in a message he left on her phone, according to the complaint.
Karling said Friday that he and his wife have been married for 32 years.
Karling said the accusations and charge have been difficult for his family.
“It is a sad situation and it is plastered all over the media right now,” he said. “It has certainly destroyed my reputation because everybody believes you are guilty when it comes out.”