DEL VALLE, Texas - A man has been arrested after Travis County Sheriff's deputies say he assaulted his girlfriend for speaking Spanish.
Rogelio Moreno Lara, 46, was charged with continuous violence against the family, a third-degree felony.
An arrest affidavit says deputies responded to a home in Del Valle on Feb. 19 before midnight for a family disturbance call. The complainant said her friend, the victim, had texted her that she was just assaulted by her boyfriend and asked her to call the police. Officers spoke with the victim, who told them her boyfriend was in the house and trying to leave through the back door. Police found the suspect, later identified as Lara, in the living room and detained him.
The victim told police she was tired of being hit by Lara and that she was laying in bed on the phone with a friend and speaking in Spanish, which the affidavit says Lara did not like. The victim said Spanish is his first language and her second, and because of that, Lara only wants her to speak English.
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The victim said Lara got up from the living room couch and got on top of her on the bed and grabbed her head by her hair with two hands and shook her head while telling her not to speak Spanish anymore, says the affidavit. She said he pulled her hair for about 15 seconds and slapped her once. She said she tried to push Lara off the whole time and she texted her friend to call the police because she was scared to call 911 herself in front of him.
Police questioned Lara and he said he and the victim were drinking and relaxing at home and that she yelled at him to come to bed, but he didn't want to. He said she then got on the phone with someone he believed was her ex-boyfriend. He told police he went over to the bed, standing over her, palmed her head with both hands and yelled at her to get off the phone and that he would go to bed, says the affidavit. He said he grabbed her phone and saw she wasn't on an active call, set it down and went to get another beer. He denied pulling her hair or slapping her.
The arrest affidavit says prior history at the address shows a report for assault with injury family violence on Jan. 23 and that a warrant was issued for Lara on Jan. 30 with the girlfriend listed as the victim.