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Charges against Benitez dropped by Queens DA

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In a statement issued Friday, DA Richard Brown said after an investigation conducted by...

By Chris Fuchs

The Queens district attorney said Friday he would not bring assault charges against a Mets relief pitcher whose fiancée had accused him of assaulting her in October.

In a statement issued Friday, DA Richard Brown said after an investigation conducted by the Domestic Violence bureau of his office, he had concluded there was insufficient evidence to sustain a charge of third-degree assault that he was considering bringing against the pitcher, Armando Benitez.

Brown also said he had received a letter dated Feb. 6 from Benitez’s fiancée, Stacey O’Neill, asking that his office not prosecute the case.

The misdemeanor assault charge against Benitez was filed with the 109th Precinct in Flushing in December, nearly three months after O’Neill claimed Benitez had punched and scratched her in their Flushing home, said Lt. Jack Shatinsky of the 109th detective squad.

O’Neill, who moved back to Baltimore, Md., shortly after the incident, waited three months to report the incident because she was short on funds and could not afford a trip to New York, Shatinsky said.

The detective said O’Neill had also filed similar charges some time ago against Benitez in Baltimore, where they lived at the time, but the charges were ultimately dismissed because of a lack of evidence.

In an earlier interview, Mary de Bourbon, a spokeswoman for the DA, said the office was investigating the charges made by O’Neill because of a dispute between the couple that involved both money and property.

Several weeks ago, Benitez was expected to surrender to police at the 109th Precinct until his attorney and the one representing his fiancée decided to meet again to reach a mutual agreement to the charges.

Reach reporter Chris Fuchs by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.

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