Kate Chastain is attempting a much-needed public relations makeover ahead of the upcoming season of Below Deck. The trailer for the upcoming season is already out and includes a brief clip of Kate hugging her ex girlfriend Ro, with a voiceover of Kate saying, “Am I a lesbian? It’s complicated.” It was released shortly after coverage of the alleged assault that occurred in June.
Last week, Florida State Attorney’s Office charged Chastain with domestic battery by strangulation and domestic battery according to FLORIDA TODAY, a local subsidiary of USA TODAY. Domestic battery by strangulation is a felony charge. Chastain was originally charged with that felony on June 13, the date of the incident according to public records. The second charge was apparently added by the States’s Attorney’s office last week according to FLORIDA TODAY. In my opinion, the second charge may have been added to allow for a plea deal.
After their initial news reports, Chastain’s lawyer, Gary Frese of Melbourne, emailed FLORIDA TODAY with the following statement, “Ms. Kate Chastain regrets the incident that occurred between her and Ms. (Rocio) Hernandez. The version of the incident told to the police by Ms. Hernandez is completely fictitious. Ms. Hernandez, a former professional fitness trainer over six feet tall, physically attacked Ms. Chastain who tried her best to defend herself during the attack. Ms. Chastain is of very slight build and is 5 foot 7 inches tall. At no time was Ms. Chastain the aggressor in the altercation. When all the actual facts are determined in the legal process Ms. Chastain will be completely vindicated and Ms. Hernandez will be shown to have a history of violent behavior and to have completely misrepresented the facts to the police about Ms. Chastain’s actions.”
It is interesting that Gary Frese is an established attorney in Melbourne whose practice is focused on Real Estate and Tax Law and does not advertise as a criminal attorney. Local Tamara Tattles sources stated that although Kate knows a few lawyers, none of them seemed to want to get involved.
Let’s review the facts:
- There was an altercation at the joint residence which led to the police being called.
- The police arrived and made an assessment and arrested Kate and for domestic violence by strangulation. This suggests the police had observed some evidence of strangulation on the victim
- The police filed a report that documented multiple bite marks on Hernandez
- No charges were filed against Hernandez.
- I detect no signs of attack on Kate in her mugshot.
Kate’s defense seems to be, “I could not have done this because Ro is three inches taller than me and in better shape than I am.” and/or “She started it.” and/or “She’s lying.”
Ro gave her statement to the police when they arrived at the incident. Local Tamara Tattles sources have stated that she did not want to press charges; however, Florida police training on domestic violence instructs the officers not to ask the victim if they plan to cooperate with prosecution and to tell the aggressor that the victim has no role in the prosecution. In the event an officer suspects or is informed of strangulation, all signs of strangulation are to be recorded by the police officer. Florida officers are strongly dissuaded from dual arrests in the event the aggressor says she was also the victim. In other words, if you call in a domestic dispute in Florida, someone is going to jail.
Kate was tweeting today that FLORIDA TODAY was refusing to put up the statement from her attorney. She also tweeted that the FLORIDA TODAY journalist posted her “private comments” to her that she sent in an email. That is the email where she apparently contacted a journalist to let them know she would not be giving any interviews as that would be an annoyance on her end.
Captain Lee, who has always been one of Kate’s biggest supporters, continues to tweet his support and urge his followers to withhold judgement until all the facts are in. I must say the facts I have seen look pretty damning; however, innocent until proven guilty…
Below Deck premiers September 6, on Bravo with a completely overhauled cast. Captain Lee, Ben, Kate and former deckhand Kelly (with the) Johnson are the returning familiar faces.
Chastain is scheduled to appear in court September 13 at the Moore Justice Center in Viera.