Tribune-Courier News Editor
BENTON – Former South Marshall Middle School Principal Kent Barlow appeared with attorney Emily Roark to request to be allowed contact with a female acquaintance in Marshall Circuit Court on Feb. 1.
In August, Barlow pleaded guilty of assaulting the woman. He also pleaded guilty to wanton endangerment and unlawful imprisonment related to the March 10 incident.
Prior to the plea agreement, Barlow faced charges of rape, terroristic threatening and kidnapping. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but Foust granted him shock probation in November, with the condition he have no contact with the victim.
Roark said Barlow and the victim requested the lifting of the condition in order to pursue joint counseling sessions together and enjoy supervised visits together in the home of Barlow’s parents.
“From what I know about domestic violence, it’s hard to consider,” Blankenship said. “But it’s hard for a court to tell a person who he can have a relationship with. It still seems early to allow this.”
The victim addressed Foust and said she was working with Barlow to repair their relationship. She added in her heart it was the right decision for herself and Barlow.
Foust agreed to allow the couple to attend relationship counseling sessions together, but did not rule on the request for supervised visitations. He added he would consider the matter before rendering a decision. Foust agreed to allow phone conversations between Barlow and the victim.
“I think it’s premature for them to resume their relationship,” Blankenship said. “We’ve seen a repetition of domestic violence incidents. It worries me that violence could resume, and next time could be even worse than the last time.”
According to his arrest warrant, the victim said she went to Barlow’s home. While there, Barlow allegedly became angry and retrieved two pistols and began to threaten both his life and hers. The warrant states Barlow fired four rounds from the pistol into the bed on which the victim was sitting. He is also alleged to have struck the victim with a closed fist and slammed her head against a wall.
The victim told investigators she agreed to have sex with Barlow because she feared for her life as the situation continued to escalate. She told police that at one point she escaped Barlow’s home but was chased down in his front yard and dragged back inside by her hair. She said she was finally able to escape the home early on Sunday morning after Barlow fell asleep.
Since then, Blankenship said Barlow and the victim have reconciled. She requested leniency before he was offered his plea agreement.
“Apparently, she still loves him and wants to have contact,” Blankenship said. “Apparently, that was the only time he ever grew violent in their relationship, according to her.”