A dispute over a Valentine's Day dinner engagement escalated and landed city of Marathon Finance Director Peter Rosasco in jail Friday night on a misdemeanor domestic battery charge.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office says Rosasco, 57, was determined to be the aggressor in the incident that took place with his wife, Mary, 41, at the couple's Sombrero-area home in Marathon just after 10 p.m.
Peter Rosasco declined comment except to say he hired attorney Patrick Stevens to represent him. Stevens also declined comment.
The Sheriff's Office says Rosasco's 19-year-old stepdaughter called police shortly after he and Mary arrived home from Florida Keys Country Club. She told police Rosasco had "struck her mother twice in the face and pushed her down."
The Rosascos reportedly were arguing about Mary running an hour late for the 6:30 p.m. dinner, an argument that started hours earlier.
Back at their house after dinner, Peter Rosasco told Deputy Garrett Bragg the couple was arguing during the drive to the country club and that Mary punched him in his right eye. He told police she punched him in the same eye again during the argument at their home.
Bragg reported seeing "red marks on the right side of [Mary's] chest and both sides of her face and on her jaw line." She also had "swelling on her upper lip." Bragg said Mary Rosasco told him Mary put her hands up to "stop Peter from striking her."
Rosasco, who "had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emitting from his breath," reportedly then began to resist Bragg's attempts to place him inside a squad car.
Deputy Deanna Torres and Sgt. Joel Slough both reported that Rosasco appeared agitated and at one point demanded that deputies "get [Sheriff] Rick Ramsay here now."
Mary Rosasco told deputies that "cops have been called in the past, but that because of her husband's status in the community nothing has ever been done."
Ramsay said he is well acquainted with Rosasco but that he's not aware of anyone being shown preferential treatment.
"I don't dispute the fact that I consider Mr. Rosasco a friend. I've known him a long time and been out to dinner with him and his wife," the sheriff said. "It goes to show here there was no impropriety because Mr. Rosasco did in fact go to jail."
Sheriff's Office records indicate police responded to two domestic violence-related calls at the Rosascos' home, in May 2005 and October 2007. No arrests were made on either occasion.
In the 2005 incident, police responded to an "open line" call that Mary made alleging she feared Peter would become violent after a party on Big Pine Key where they were both drinking alcohol. Peter told police that Mary locked him out of the room unexpectedly and it angered him.
During the course of that incident, Mary asked deputies if they "noticed the injuries to her arm" and that she "subsequently showed me some fresh scratches on her right arm." Deputies determined Peter didn't scratch Mary, calling the scratches "self-inflicted."
In the 2007 incident, deputies responded to a 911 hang-up call coming from the Rosasco home. Mary claimed Peter had "choked her" after being angered that she was not home when he got back from a business trip.
However, police determined "the injury did not appear to be consistent with Mary's statement, with no visible swelling nor marks indicative of a hand print." She eventually recanted, telling officers the couple "only had an argument."
Rosasco is Marathon's longtime contracted finance director through his accounting firm. Acting City Manager Mike Puto said he is going to consult with City Attorney John Herin and Human Resources Director Diana Naylor to discuss possible options for how to handle Rosasco's arrest.