Pence troubled by report Guard mishandled domestic case

Gov. Mike Pence is troubled by allegations that the Indiana National Guard mishandled a domestic violence case and will review a Pentagon report on the matter, his spokeswoman said.

The ex-wife of a top Guard attorney accused him of beating her and said that she told Adjutant General Martin Umbarger about the abuse in 2009, or nearly three years before Umbarger has acknowledged he became aware of the accusation, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Umbarger did not launch a formal investigation of the matter until 18 months after that, the Star reported.

"The governor found a number of the allegations troubling," his spokeswoman, Christy Denault, said in a statement published by the Star on Tuesday. The governor, who acts as the Guard's commander in chief, "will carefully review the Department of the Army Inspector General's report to determine how the Indiana National Guard can best address such allegations in the future."

The ex-wife, Shannon Dickerson, said the Guard failed to offer her the help that military commanders are supposed to provide alleged victims under Department of Defense instructions posted on the Guard's website.

The ex-husband, Lt. Col. Brian Dickerson, has denied the allegation, but a judge in the couple's divorce case ruled that he was responsible for injuring one of his ex-wife's feet after twisting it.

Rep. Christina Hale, an Indianapolis Democrat who is drafting domestic violence legislation, said it appeared the Guard did not follow its own protocols and that seemed "unconscionable."

"A lot of bad things can happen in 18 months," Hale said.

Umbarger has said the Guard acted appropriately and "takes every allegation of misconduct seriously."

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