Woman sues former Arroyo Grande councilman Ed Arnold over alleged assault

The Arroyo Grande city employee who alleges that a then-city councilman beat her is suing him over her physical injuries and emotional troubles ensuing from the 2009 incident.

The San Luis Obispo Superior Court lawsuit filed Friday against Ed Arnold seeks compensation for battery, assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from a Dec. 15, 2009, incident at her Arroyo Grande home.

The woman — who was 28 at the time — had been romantically involved with Arnold and his wife before he blamed her for the breakup of his marriage, according to court documents from the criminal case against the former councilman. The Tribune is not publishing the woman’s name because she is the purported victim of domestic violence.

Her lawyer, David L. Richards, claims in the lawsuit that Arnold hit her repeatedly with a club, threatened to kill her, and that she was “fearful for her life.”

The woman claims that the incident left her with cuts to her scalp and elbow and caused her humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress. The assault also rendered her unable to work for a period of time, she alleges.

The plaintiff is seeking payback for lost earnings and medical expenses on top of punitive damages.

Neither Arnold nor a lawyer representing him has filed a response to the allegations in the lawsuit, which represents only the woman’s side of the case. A case-management hearing is scheduled for Dec. 15 before Judge Dodie Harman.

Arnold, 46, recently was convicted in a separate criminal case of felony residential burglary of the woman’s home and possessing child pornography after investigators said they found pictures of underage naked girls on his computer, as well as a video of a 16-year-old foreign-exchange student from Spain showering in his house.

The San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges involving the alleged beating in a deal where Arnold agreed to plead no contest to two felonies. No-contest pleas result in convictions without the accused admitting guilt.

The charges dismissed as part of the agreement were assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence, threatening bodily harm, possession of an illegal assault weapon and videotaping a minor for pornographic purposes.

Arnold is expected to report to the San Luis Obispo County Jail for a 270-day sentence Friday. Arnold also must undergo a batterer’s program and register as a sex offender.

The former councilman, who has not spoken publicly about the case since his arrest, has moved to Oregon, according to prosecutors.

His criminal attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, previously said that the public exposure of the case was hard on his client and that Arnold has been living in discomfort with the negative attention.

“One of the foundations of American justice is you don’t kick a man when he’s down,” Funke-Bilu said after Arnold’s July 12 sentencing. “Let’s stop kicking him and let him live his life.”

Arnold resigned from the Arroyo Grande City Council on Sept. 27, saying his pending criminal charges were a distraction to his ability to serve effectively.