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Duerson court date scheduled

Claire Heininger | Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Former Notre Dame football captain Dave Duerson, who resigned from the Board of Trustees Friday after allegedly assaulting his wife in The Morris Inn Thursday, is scheduled to appear in St. Joseph Superior Court Feb. 28, St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said Tuesday.The prosecutor’s office filed two counts of battery and two counts of domestic battery against Duerson Monday in charges resulting from the incident, which took place in room 236 of The Morris Inn at 1:45 a.m. Thursday, according to the prosecutor’s supplemental affidavit.To date, no lawyer has registered on Duerson’s behalf in the Traffic and Misdemeanor Division of the Superior Court, according to court records.The Observer was unable to reach Dave or his wife, Alicia Duerson, for comment Tuesday. A woman reached at the Duersons’ Highland Park, Ill. residence, who described herself as the family’s baby-sitter but declined to give her name, said Dave and Alicia Duerson were out of town Tuesday and deferred comment to family spokesman Mitch Rosen.Rosen, who released a statement from Dave Duerson Monday night, declined to comment further on the family’s legal proceedings Tuesday.Dvorak declined to comment on Alicia Duerson’s degree of participation with the state of Indiana in bringing the charges.Alicia Duerson told Notre Dame Security/Police officers Thursday “that her husband had become upset with her in the hotel room and began striking her about the head and body … [and] she was thrown out of the room by her husband,” according to the supplemental affidavit, signed by NDSP Lt. Pat Cotrell.Though the charges state Dave Duerson “did knowingly touch Alicia Duerson in a rude, insolent or angry manner … striking or choking her,” Dvorak declined to clarify whether Alicia Duerson was allegedly struck or choked. He declined to release further details about the encounter or the status of the alleged victim.Each count filed against Dave Duerson is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine, said Catherine Wilson, Dvorak’s assistant. However, any sentencing that would occur if Dave Duerson were convicted would take into account whether or not the defendant has a past criminal record, Dvorak said.Dvorak said the prosecutor’s office chose to file two counts of battery and two counts of domestic battery so the prosecutor could attempt to prove battery charges without the burden of proving Alicia Duerson is Dave Duerson’s wife.Should Dave Duerson be convicted on all four counts, the doctrine of merger dictates he could only be punished for two counts, Dvorak said. The incident was first brought to NDSP attention by representatives of The Morris Inn, particularly the night auditor, who received phone calls from occupants on the second floor regarding fighting in the Duersons’ room, the affidavit states. The affidavit does not name the night auditor, NDSP officers or other witnesses. Dvorak said the prosecutor’s office is compelled by Indiana Supreme Court law to withhold witnesses’ names. Dvorak added he did not believe all witnesses to the incident were Morris Inn employees and declined to give an estimate of the number of witnesses except to say there were more than two.Dave Duerson, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1983 after playing defensive back for the Irish from 1979-83, twice won All-American honors. He went on to win two Super Bowls in the NFL. He is also founder, president and CEO of Duerson Foods, LLC, and he and Alicia Duerson are both on the company’s Board of Directors.Charles January, a security supervisor at Duerson Foods, LLC, said the company will not issue a public statement on the Duersons’ status and that “the matter is being handled privately.”