Local business owner faces charges
Editors note: The Manchester Journal does not identify victims of domestic violence.
DORSET — A local business owner and active community participant is facing several charges after a domestic incident in Dorset on Monday evening.
Clarke Comollo, 62, of East Dorset was arrested Tuesday on a charge of misdemeanor domestic assault. A charge of simple assault on a protected professional was added after police said he tried to kick a sheriff's deputy while he was being processed at the Manchester Police Department.
Comollo was arraigned on both charges Wednesday in front of Judge William Cohen. He pleaded not guilty to each charge.
Cohen imposed bail of $5,000 with a lengthy list of conditions including that he stay away from the victim, stay in Bennington County, check in at the Manchester Police Department daily and submit to an alcosensor test at any time when requested by a law enforcement officer.
A third charge, this time for violating conditions of release, was added Wednesday morning after he was released from the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Center and he went back to the house, which violated one of his court-ordered conditions.
The case started Monday evening, when, according to police, a woman said Comollo was drunk and hit her in the head with a closed fist multiple times at his residence.
The woman told police she was able to escape and flee the house. When she returned the next day, Comollo was at the house and intoxicated, so she called the police.
According to a court affidavit, Bennington County Sheriff's Sgt. Jesse Bravata was the first to arrive on the scene.
He said he found the woman sitting on the steps to the house and Comollo sitting in a taxi cab drinking from a Jack Daniels whiskey bottle.
He spoke to the woman who told him that Comollo had been drinking the previous evening when he grabbed her by the hair and punched her in the head.
Comollo used expletives in reply to questions by Bravata and after being ordered out of the cab, refused to sit on the ground.
"Clark Comollo turned towards me, in a threatening manner, placed his face near mine and in a loud voice stated, "Shut the [expletive] up" and "You are such a dumb [expletive]," Bravata wrote in the affidavit.
Bravata said Comollo refused to place his hands behind his back and started to pull away. Bravata said he put an arm bar hold on Comollo and lowered him to the ground where Comollo was cuffed.
Comollo continued to hurl profane insults at Bravata but agreed to provide a breath sample, which registered a blood alcohol content of .222.
Comollo was transported to the Manchester Police Department for processing and while there, Bravata said Comollo was "extremely uncooperative and violent," flipping over the holding area table twice and attempted to kick Bravata in the groin, striking his thumb.
A judge ordered Comollo held until sober with several conditions including that he not drink alcohol and that he stay away from the woman he was accused of hitting and others.
But Vermont State Police said in a news release said Comollo was also charged with violating conditions of release after he violated one of those conditions Wednesday morning.
Cpl. Jimmy Wilborn said troopers learned Comollo had violated his conditions of release.
A family member gave troopers permission to enter the residence and found Comollo hiding in an upstairs closet. He was taken into custody without incident, state police said in the release.
Comollo requested and was assigned a public defender, Frederick Bragdon.
Comollo has had problems with alcohol in the past. He was convicted on charges of driving under the influence in 2011 and 2014. He pleaded guilty both times, according to court records.
Comollo is the owner, with his wife Barbara, of Comollo Antiques and Wine on Main Street. Clarke Comollo is one of the administrators of an active and popular Facebook group Northshire Community Forum. He also leads a local musicians' jam.
In April 2018, the Comollos home was heavily damaged by a fire. Neither of them were injured and their cats escaped, but their home was heavily damaged and took nearly a year to repair. A GoFundMe account raised $11,675 to help them in their time of need.
Reporters Patricia LeBoeuf and Tiffany Tan contributed to this report.
Contact Darren Marcy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by cell at 802-681-6534.
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