Testimony: Victim of alleged domestic assault involving KY FBI agent was choked, injured

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The victim of an alleged domestic assault involving a Kentucky FBI agent had visible injuries and accused the agent of choking them, according to testimony from a police officer during a court hearing.

Details involving a domestic violence case against Kentucky FBI agent Michael Van Aelstyn were revealed in a preliminary hearing on Jan. 3. He faces charges of assault-domestic violence and strangulation stemming from an incident last year. The FBI previously told the Herald-Leader that the incident is under an “administrative inquiry” but the agency couldn’t comment further.

Van Aelstyn, 44, had a domestic violence complaint filed against him in Woodford County on July 9, and an emergency protection order was issued that same day, according to court records. He was later criminally charged.

In court testimony during the Jan. 3 hearing, the court heard from Versailles police officer Coleman Sparks, who said the investigation began following a traffic stop he conducted with a family member of the victim.

According to Sparks, he pulled over a white vehicle with the taillight out around 2:24 a.m. on July 9, and said he saw the victim upset in the passenger’s seat and asked what happened. The victim briefly explained they were in an argument, but declined to say more.

Ky. FBI agent charged with domestic assault. Incident is under ‘inquiry,’ FBI says

A family member said the victim and Van Aelstyn had been out drinking earlier, according to Sparks’ testimony.

Sparks said in court that the victim told police Van Aelstyn dragged them down a hall and they suffered an injury to their right forearm as they tried to get away.

The victim tried to get a phone to contact family, but Van Aelstyn allegedly took the phone and dunked it in the sink, according to court testimony. According to Sparks, the victim said the two were fighting over the phone when Van Aelstyn pushed the victim, causing them to hit their back on a cabinet. The victim allegedly suffered a laceration.

The victim told police they tried to leave, according to Sparks. But Van Aelstyn allegedly pushed the victim onto a bed and began to choke them, causing them to experience breathlessness, soreness, difficulty swallowing and hoarseness.

Before Van Aelstyn allegedly choked the victim, he said, “I am done with you,” according to court testimony.

Sparks said he could see visible red marks around the victim’s neck and the victim had other injuries on her back and forearm.

Police recorded the interviews and documented the injuries on the victim.

Sparks testified that when he and another officer, Sgt. Scott Carnes with the Versailles Police Department, went to interview Van Aelstyn around 4 a.m., Carnes noticed Van Aelstyn smelled of mouthwash and was chewing gum when he answered the door.

During interviews, Van Aelstyn allegedly told officers he tried to leave the argument several times by going to other parts of the residence and outside, but the victim continued to push and kick him. He said he locked himself in the bedroom, and the victim asked to be let in. Van Aelstyn said the victim kicked in the door, busting the door frame and latch on the bedroom door.

Sparks confirmed he did photograph damage to the residence including a broken door frame.

According to Sparks’ testimony, Van Aelstyn said the argument became heated, and when the victim came into the bedroom, he tossed the victim onto the bed to keep them from coming towards him. At that point, Van Aelstyn told the officers he then “playfully” dragged the victim into the hallway.

Van Aelstyn told officers he did dunk the phone into the water and later threw it into a field because “he paid for it, and could dunk it in the water if he chooses,” according to court testimony.

Van Aelstyn denied assaulting or strangling the victim. His attorney previously declined to comment on the pending criminal charges.

Van Aelstyn was criminally charged after the incident and turned himself in at the Woodford County Detention Center on Aug. 13, two days after a judge signed off on an arrest warrant, according to an arrest citation.

An order for Van Aelstyn to surrender firearms was issued the same day as the emergency protective order, according to court records. But on Sept. 23 the order was amended, allowing Van Aelstyn to possess a firearm while on duty. Van Aelstyn was granted conditional release on a $5,000 unsecured bond, according to court records.

A Woodford County judge sent his case to a grand jury in January. An indictment hasn’t yet been returned.

A case management conference is scheduled for June 2 in the domestic violence dispute, according to court records. No upcoming court dates are listed in records for Van Aelstyn’s criminal case.

Reporter Chris Leach contributed to this story.