PORT RICHEY, Fla. — “The main thing I learned from the jail is I don't want to go back,” said Port Richey Mayor Dale Massad, speaking out publicly for the first time since he was arrested last week on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
State law requires that those charged with domestic battery by held overnight.
Massad described the experience, especially being placed in solitary confinement for his own safety, as one of the worst experiences of his life.
Massad says his longtime girlfriend Caj Joseph was running around the house naked and attacked him, hitting him several times.
Joseph told Pasco County Deputies who responded to the scene that Massad pushed her.
“I didn't hit her. And I don't hit women,” Massad said, indicating he plans to fight the charges if he is prosecuted.
Massad says he has known Joseph since 1985, but he believes the incident marked a turning point in their dysfunctional relationship.
“She cannot come back here ever. I just can't do that,” he said.
Court records show Joseph has been arrested seven times at the mayor's house for domestic violence, violating protective orders and other charges.
She was charged last week with felony assault on a person over the age of 65 for allegedly assaulting Massad.
In the past, Massad bailed her out of jail — but says he won’t do that again.
“I don't know how to get out of here. I don't have anyone I know. He's not gonna get me out,” she told the judge at her bond hearing.
She said she was unable to pay the $500 bond.
Last month we reported that police have been to the mayor's house four dozen times in recent years.
Massad blames that on the company he keeps.
“I just take in strays,” he told the I-Team, admitting criminals often stay at his home.
He says after several recent thefts, he has had to change to locks and better control who is coming and going.
Massad denies those calls to his home strained police resources because he doesn’t believe the Port Richey force is currently overworked.
He says he would like to see the number of on-duty officers reduced to save taxpayers money.
The city says from now on, Pasco County Deputies will be sent to all future calls to the mayor's house.
If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, contact us at email@example.com.