BISMARCK — Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota’s superintendent of public instruction, was briefly jailed Sunday for what police describe as a domestic violence assault.
Baesler, 45, was being held in the Burleigh County Detention Center on one count of simple assault, a misdemeanor.
Officers were called at 2:27 a.m. Sunday to the home of a 48-year-old man who was not identified but was described as Baesler’s fiancé, according to Bismarck police.
“The victim had visible injury as well as dried blood on his face,” Lt. Cody Trom of the Bismarck Police Department said in a statement.
Baesler had left the home, on the 1100 block of South Port Loop, before police arrived.
“Based on the results of the investigation, probable cause was established to arrest Baesler for the domestic-related simple assault,” Trom said.
In a statement released by her spokesman, Baesler said she was concerned about her safety during the altercation with fiancé Todd Tschosik.
“An argument escalated to the point where I was concerned for my safety,” she said in the statement. “Unfortunately, this incident was not the first situation where I felt I was at risk. In fact, the problem has been escalating in recent months.”
She added: “The mistake that I made was I thought I could fix the problem, and that it was somehow my fault. But that is not true.”
Baesler said she should have sought help from professionals to help her “escape an unhealthy relationship.”
She added: “No one wants to admit they aren’t as strong or as capable as they believe they should be. I encourage people who find themselves in this situation to reach out to their pastor, counselor or domestic abuse professional and get the help that they need.”
Because of the “legal issues involved,” Baesler said she would not make any further comment on the incident “until this matter has been resolved.”
Because today is a holiday, President’s Day, her likely first appearance in Bismarck Municipal Court would be Tuesday, said Lt. Glen Ternes of the Bismarck Police Department.
Baesler posted a bond of $150 and was released from custody Sunday evening, said her spokesman, Dale Wetzel.
Police would not comment on the nature of the altercation or provide other details of the alleged assault.
“It’s still an active report,” Ternes said.
Baesler, whose career as an educator spanned more than 20 years, was elected to her position in November 2012 as the state’s leading public education official.
A native of Flasher, N.D., Baesler’s education career started as a library assistant. She later became a library media specialist and an assistant principal in the Bismarck Public School District.
She served for seven years as president of the Mandan School Board and was assistant executive director of the North Dakota School Boards Association before being elected superintendent of public instruction with a letter of support from the Republican Party.
In office, Baesler has been a vocal advocate of North Dakota’s adoption of the “Common Core” education standards, and has supported pre-kindergarten education.