Clemons’ records unsealed

Friday, August 1, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:12 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Police reports from the Ricky Clemons investigation show that the woman he assaulted, Jessica Bunge, told investigators about several violent episodes leading up to the January assault that prompted criminal charges.

Circuit Court Judge Ellen Roper’s ruling Thursday allowed public access to cell phone records and more than 880 pages of depositions in the case. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch requested the information under the state Sunshine Law.

The prosecutor’s office July 25 sent the Post-Dispatch investigative reports in the case from Columbia police. The Missourian examined those reports Thursday after filing an open records request. The police reports include statements taken from more than 12 people, including Clemons’ roommates, Bunge and several of her friends.

Detective Barbara Buck reported that after an initial interview, Bunge told her Clemons, a former Missouri basketball player, became angry in September and tried to choke her for about 10 minutes. Bunge also said that about two months before the January assault, Clemons pushed her, causing her nose to bleed, the detective reported. Bunge told the officer that Clemons broke down her bathroom door a month earlier.

The document notes that Bunge did not report the earlier problems to police.

Bunge told the detective that she and Clemons began arguing in September and October over “petty stuff,” the report says, and that he would push her on the chest and grab her by the arm. Bunge said Clemons was “always putting her down” and telling her “she does not have a brain,” according to reports from Buck, who works for the police department’s domestic violence unit.

Another report was based on a statement that Buck took from Inge Assouad, a close friend of Bunge. Assouad described Clemons as a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type” who is “nice” but “quickly becomes controlling.” Assouad also said that, in her opinion, Bunge was afraid of Clemons and said she had heard him make threats to Bunge.

Clemons is serving a 60-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges of third-degree domestic assault and false imprisonment of Bunge on Jan. 16. Bunge told police that she was in bed with Clemons when he insisted that she watch the movie “Roots.” After she declined, she told police, Clemons choked her for about five minutes.

The ruling Thursday was the first time in Boone County a judge has released documents obtained by a grand jury subpoena under a Sunshine Law request, assistant prosecutor Deborah Daniels said. Under Missouri law, information obtained by a grand jury subpoena can be closed.

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