A Quinnipiac professor and prominent Hartford lawyer was arrested after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend with a frying pan.
Dwight Merriam, 72, of Weatogue, was arrested on Tuesday by Simsbury Police.
Police said Merriam’s girlfriend called police stating he had assaulted her with a frying pan during an argument.
When police arrived at the home, Merriam said there was a verbal argument between him and the victim because she was trying to break up with him and she wanted $50,000.
Merriam told police he had been in a relationship with the victim since 2013. He said the two had met when Merriam was the victim’s professor at UConn Law School.
The victim told police the argument started when Merriam was complaining about running out of money and he was planning on cutting off her financial support.
According to a police report, the victim said Merriam wanted her to go back to Russia, but the victim couldn’t.
The victim explained she had quit her job and had no place to go back to in Russia.
Police said the victim reported the verbal agreement was over that they agreed upon if they got married, then the victim would sign a prenuptial agreement to protect Merriam’s assets, and if they broke up, Merriam would pay her $50,000 to return to Russia.
Merriam allegedly chased the victim around the kitchen with a frying pan and threw a selfie stick and a butter knife at her as well.
The victim’ had a bruise on her hip from the incident.
According to UConn, he was an adjunct instructor when he occasionally taught night classes. They said he has not taught classes since 2015, and is not scheduled for future classes.
UConn also said he is currently affiliated with Quinnipiac University.
Quinnipiac University said they do not comment on personnel matters.
Merriam also works for the law group Robinson and Cole.
Domestic violence groups and lawmakers are blasting the law community for treating this lightly.
"What's been concerning is the voices around this haven't been strong," said Karen Jarmoc, from CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Jarmoc says Robinson and Cole, the law firm Merriam works for, has taken a stand, but few others have.
Managing partner, Stephen Goldman said in a statement the arrest is, "shocking and extremely disturbing. This is a very serious matter. He will take an immediate leave of absence."
Merriam is also on the advisory board of the CT Law Tribune and no action has been taken.
"An ethics lawyer says he can definitely come back from this, and then a CT ethics lawyer said this has nothing to do with the practice of law," said Senator Beth Bye of West Hartford.
Merriam was arrested for disorderly conduct and third-degree assault.
He was released on a promise to appear in Enfield court.
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