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Welch investigated for spouse abuse

July 18, 1997

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ Thomas K. Welch, president and chief executive officer of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee and the man who brought the 2002 Winter Games to Utah, is being investigated for allegedly assaulting his wife last week.

Welch reportedly wrestled his wife, Alma, to the ground in the garage of their home on July 9 after Welch admitted to an extramarital affair, according to a Salt Lake City police report obtained by The Associated Press.

The 47-year-old woman suffered bruises when Welch tried to stop her from getting into his car to look at gifts, pictures and letters involving his lover, the report said.

Welch, 53, was not arrested at the time, said Salt Lake police detective Capt. Judy Dencker. No criminal charges have been filed.

The nature of the incident and the injuries require that police investigate even though Alma Welch expressed reluctance.

``The case will be screened by city prosecutors next week,″ Dencker said. ``We expect a complaint and a summons. This will come as no surprise to him (Mr. Welch). He knows it is coming.″

The couple’s 11-year-old son was told to call police when he heard his parents fighting and went to the garage. The couple has six children.

``Mrs. Welch stated that she knows her son saved her life,″ crime lab technician Melonie Schertz wrote after speaking with Alma Welch.

``She was fully convinced that her husband would have killed her had it not been for the son’s actions.″

Even so, Alma Welch told police she was reluctant to press charges and did not want photographs taken of her injuries until she had consulted with her lawyer.

Melonie Schertz reported she observed bruises on the woman’s arms and Alma Welch later told her she had bruises on her legs as well.

Alma Welch told officers the ``abuse had been going on for years″ although she was reluctant to press charges, the report said. Moreover, she told Schertz that she feared her husband ``was going to have her committed″ and that ``she was afraid that her husband would try to kill her.″

Welch admitted to officers that he told his wife of the affair and an argument ensued. He went to the garage, where he was trying to conceal gifts and letters in his car’s trunk.

He said he did not assault or struggle with her, although he did sit on the trunk to prevent her from seeing inside.

``Thom added that at no time did he assault Alma, adding that she also did not struggle with him,″ Rowley wrote.

Welch said his wife ``tends to over-exaggerate,″ the report said.

Neither Tom Welch nor Alma Welch immediately returned messages left by The Associated Press.

Mike Korologos, a spokesman for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee, said Welch is in Africa. He added that he didn’t think the incident would affect the committee or Welch’s position.

``How could it? It’s away from the office,″ Korologos said, ``and it’s a personal matter, period.″

Anita DeFrantz, a member of the International Olympic Committee and SLOC, declined to speculate on what, if any, impact the incident would have on Welch’s position as president of SLOC.

`You’ve pushed my lawyer buttons,″ DeFrantz said. ``Until I know more, I really can’t comment on this one.″

Frank Joklik, chairman of the SLOC board, likewise declined comment. ``It appears to be a private matter,″ he said.

Welch left a lucrative position as a corporate lawyer in 1985 to become volunteer president of the Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committee.

When the IOC awarded the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake in 1995, Welch was appointed president and chief executive of the organizing committee.

Alma Welch worked alongside her husband in the city’s pursuit of the Games and is active in Olympic and civic affairs. She is president of the non-profit Sport, Education and Values Foundation, which uses Olympic themes to motivate young people.

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