An Oregon assistant attorney general is accused of punching and strangling her long-time partner, after the woman attempted to change the locks on the North Portland condo they shared.
According to an affidavit filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Tuesday, assistant attorney general Susan R. Gerber's wife of five years told Portland police that she'd confronted Gerber about an affair she suspected Gerber had with another woman.
Janice Dulle, 38, told police that she returned home and "started the process of changing the locks" when Gerber, 40, arrived home and began assaulting her late Friday night. A locksmith who knocked on the door of the condo said he arrived to see Gerber punching Dulle with a closed fist as Gerber yelled at Dulle to give her the phone she was holding.
The locksmith said he went back to his car, heard arguing and looked through a window. He said he saw Gerber push Dulle against a wall and choke her. He then called 9-1-1.
Officers arrived at 12:15 a.m. Saturday to find Dulle with red marks around her neck and bruises on her arms. She rated her pain as a "3" out of 10. Dulle said she couldn't breathe for a brief while as Gerber tried to strangle her.
Officer Jennifer Williamson arrested Gerber. She was booked and released from jail.
Gerber works in Oregon Attorney General John Kroger's office, litigating cases involving inmates who are fighting their convictions and cases involving the state's Psychiatric Security Review Board, which oversees convicts deemed insane.
Tuesday, Gerber didn't appear in court for her arraignment on accusations of attempted fourth-degree assault, harassment and strangulation. Her attorney, Michael De Muniz, said Gerber had checked herself into in-patient treatment, but he declined to specify after the hearing what kind of treatment she is receiving.
Gerber does have a history of alcohol abuse. In a 2006 article in the Oregon State Bar Bulletin, Gerber talked openly about her problems with alcohol in the past and her decision to live a sober life. She said she started drinking in high school and continued into her career as a lawyer, adding that a beer took the edge off of stressful days dealing with crime, according to the article.
Patrick Sweeney, an attorney for Dulle, said his client had a no-contact order against Gerber, but Dulle would like the judge to lift it. Dulle hoped to visit Gerber in treatment. The judge declined to lift the order.
Tony Green, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Justice, said Gerber is still an employee, but that he couldn't provide more detail, such as whether Gerber has been placed on leave.