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March 20, 2014

Ex-firefighter jailed on charges of domestic abuse

SALEM — A former Salem firefighter will remain in custody at Middleton Jail through the weekend, facing charges that he repeatedly assaulted his wife as their marriage deteriorated over the past two years.

John O’Leary, 45, of 10 Wyman Drive, Salem, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court to charges of kidnapping, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of domestic assault and battery, and witness intimidation.

Prosecutors asked that O’Leary be deemed a danger to his estranged wife and held without bail until trial. A hearing on that request is set for Monday.

The allegations came to light this week after O’Leary’s wife went to police on Sunday to obtain an emergency domestic restraining order against her husband, telling police that she believed he was going to harm her. She later told a domestic violence officer that she is “very concerned because John is over the edge and has nothing to lose.”

The problems in their marriage started after O’Leary lost his job as a Salem fire lieutenant in 2012 over allegations of misuse of funds from a firefighters union charity account. That firing was later upheld by the state’s Civil Service Commission. O’Leary was not charged criminally in that investigation. He has appealed the Civil Service ruling, but there has been no activity in that case since it was filed in January.

His wife told police that she believed O’Leary was jealous and began to suspect infidelity, tracking her whereabouts with the GPS feature on her cellphone and, she believes, hiring someone to follow her.

Police have been called to the couple’s home five times since 2012. In each of those instances, both O’Leary and his wife told responding officers that they were simply having a verbal argument.

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