BY ETHAN FORMAN STAFF WRITER
The Salem News
---- — DANVERS — The heated argument that led to Selectman Keith Lucy being summonsed to court on an assault charge was provoked when Lucy allegedly jostled in front of others to read the election results being posted at Town Hall, according to the court complaint.
The complaint, filed by Precinct 3 Town Meeting member John “Jack” Fratus, was made public yesterday.
The incident occurred on the night of the state primary election, after the polls closed, while people were milling about to see voting results posted on a bulletin board at Town Hall. Lucy “pushed in front” of two women, Julie Curtis and Frances Fratus, who is Jack Fratus’ wife, the complaint alleges.
“I said to him, ‘You just stepped in front of her.’ Keith Lucy said you, Frances Fratus, and started yelling at her. He was red in the face and looked angry,” the complaint says.
Fratus alleges that Lucy, 47, took a step toward his wife and continued to scream at her.
“I told him to back off my wife a few times,” Fratus wrote. “I stepped in front of him to stop him from yelling at my wife.”
Fratus and his wife are both in their late 60s, according to the town’s street listing.
Fratus also said in the complaint that Lucy told the three to never to speak to him again.
“Then he said ‘Jack,’ and he raised his hand to me and swung his open hand within an inch of my face,” Fratus wrote. “I felt the wind on my face. I stepped back, afraid he was going to hit me. I said, ‘If you want to hit me, go ahead and do it.’ Lucy then left.”
Lucy has been ordered to appear for arraignment in Salem District Court on Nov. 20.
The complaint was issued Oct. 25 after a closed-door, clerk-magistrate’s hearing on Oct. 15 to determine whether there was probable cause to bring charges against Lucy. Fratus filed the citizen’s complaint against Lucy five days after the primary.
The maximum penalty for assault is 21/2 years in jail or a $1,000 fine. A charge of assault involves placing someone in fear; it does not mean someone was hit or injured.
Lucy, a software engineer, was elected selectman in 2004.
Both Lucy and Fratus declined comment for this story. Messages seeking comment were not returned by Fratus’ attorney, John Slattery of Peabody. Lucy’s attorney, Michael Smerczynski, whose office is on Main Street in Peabody, also did not return a call.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.