Charges of spousal abuse have been filed against Irv Krespi, a cancer patient who last month received nationwide media attention for an emotional, two-mile ocean swim with his 4-year-old daughter.
The Orange County district attorney’s office on Monday charged Krespi, 61, of Costa Mesa with assault, battery and resisting arrest, all misdemeanor counts stemming from an incident on the night of Aug. 15, hours after the swim.
If convicted, Krespi faces a maximum of three years in jail. Arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 17.
Costa Mesa police responding to a report of loud noises coming from Krespi’s apartment that night heard a woman screaming for help and a man yelling. Upon entering the apartment, police said, they had to physically separate the arguing pair, and found a reddened area on the woman’s neck.
The woman asked that Krespi be arrested and signed a form requesting anonymity, police said. She later asked that the charges be dropped.
Krespi and his estranged wife, Laurie, have repeatedly denied that any abuse occurred, blaming the arrest on a neighbor’s misunderstanding.
“There was no spousal abuse,” said Laurie Krespi, adding that she and her husband are trying to reconcile after about two years of separation. “I’m very angry and upset by all this.”
She said she never asked for the arrest of her husband of 19 years, nor did she ever call police.
But based on the police report, the district attorney filed charges.
“In any case, if a victim refuses to prosecute, we will consider it,” said Christine Simmons, the deputy district attorney who decided to try the case. “But what we also look at is do we have a crime, can we prove that crime . . . and is it a case where society’s interests are such that we want to prosecute.”
Krespi said he is being persecuted because of the attention he and his daughter, Ariel, have received. He is now training the girl for a 26-mile swim next year to Santa Catalina Island.
“They ballooned this thing to unbelievable proportions, the cops and the papers,” Krespi said. " . . . They have turned a very positive thing into something negative.”
Krespi and his wife said the red marks on her neck were sunburn from watching the girl’s swim. He said he can produce more than 20 character witnesses in case of a trial.
Krespi, who has malignant melanoma in his left eye, said the swim was intended as a farewell gift to Ariel, who was also in the apartment when police arrived that day.