A member of the Danvers Board of Selectmen is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday on assault charges in connection with an incident at Town Hall on Election Day in September.
Keith G. Lucy, 47, of 7 Ashley Lane faces a single count of assault after the incident on Sept. 6, the day of the primary election.
The charges were not filed by police but instead by a citizen, who sought a hearing in front of a Salem District Court magistrate. That magistrate, who heard the complaint from Town Meeting member John Fratus of Appleton Street in a hearing closed to the public, found there was probable cause to issue a criminal complaint against Lucy. He was then issued a summons on Oct. 25 to appear at an arraignment on Tuesday.
The assault charge is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to 2-1/2 years in jail or a fine up to $1,000.
Fratus said in a statement of facts filed with the court that it all started that evening when he was in the Town Hall looking at state primary election results when Lucy allegedly stepped in front of his wife, Frances, and resident Julie Curtis.
“He was red in the face and looked angry,” Fratus wrote.
As Lucy allegedly yelled at Frances Fratus, John Fratus said he stepped in front of Lucy to stop him from yelling at his wife.
Later, Lucy allegedly “swung his open hand within an inch of my face,” John Fratus wrote.
Fratus said he stepped back because he was afraid Lucy would hit him and told Lucy that if he wanted to strike him “go ahead and do it.” That’s when Lucy left, Fratus said.
A complete copy of Fratus’ statement of facts in attached to this story as a PDF.
In Massachusetts, assault is not outlined specifically in state law and instead is defined by common law, meaning “any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon another” with the ability carry it out and an “intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear immediate bodily harm.” The charge does not allege that there was any contact, which would constitute battery.
Attorney Michel Smerczynski of Peabody represents Lucy. Reached at his office on Monday, Smerczynski said he had did not want to comment on the case.
Fratus is represented by Slattery, a Peabody attorney who ran for the 2nd Essex District seat in the state Senate, which includes Danvers, and was defeated by Salem City Council President Joan Lovely on the night of the alleged incident. Lovely went on to win in the general election earlier this month.
Lucy has been a selectman for more than eight yeas and Fratus is in his second term as a Town Meeting member and formerly served on the Finance Committee.