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Crime News Breaking News

Father Of ‘Affluenza Teen’ Facing Assault Charge After Allegedly Choking Girlfriend

Frederick Couch’s son Ethan attracted widespread condemnation after he caused a drunk-driving accident that killed four people and was only sentenced to probation. 

By Sharon Lynn Pruitt
Killers Born of Privilege

Editor's note: The original version of this story state Ethan Couch had been sentenced to 10 months probation. It was 10 years, not months.

Frederick Couch, father of infamous “afflueunza teen” Ethan Couch, has been charged with assault following allegations that he choked his girlfriend earlier this year.

Tarrant County criminal court records show that Frederick Couch, 53, was charged Tuesday with assault of a house member by impeding her breath in relation to a July 14 incident involving his partner, Brandi Gober, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Couch, a resident of Fort Worth, Texas, has been accused of grabbing Gober’s neck and squeezing, according to a criminal complaint obtained by the outlet.

Frederick Couch’s son Ethan made headlines in 2013 when he drove while under the influence of drugs and alcohol and killed four people, a number of whom had stopped to help another driver in need. Ethan Couch, then 16 years old, earned the “affluenza teen” moniker after a psychologist testified during the trial that he suffered from “affluenza,” a so-called condition wherein the children of wealthy parents are unable to establish the difference between right and wrong due to growing up with parents who do not hold them accountable, according to USA Today.

Ethan was found guilty in juvenile court of of four counts of intoxication manslaughter and two counts of intoxication assault and sentenced to 10 years probation, which sparked widespread condemnation. Public criticism of the Couch family intensified in 2015 after a video surfaced showing Ethan playing beer pong at a party, despite the terms of his probation stipulating that he attend rehab and refrain from drinking any alcohol.

Fred Couch Ap

The family drew even more criticism after Ethan and his mother, Tonya Couch, fled the country rather than have Ethan face the consequences of his alleged parole violation. The pair attempted to hide at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico but were caught and extradited back to the states after a few weeks, according to a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A judge ordered Ethan Couch to spend 720 days in jail, and he completed that sentence last April.

Frederick Couch has not commented publicly on his current case and an attorney believed to be representing him did not respond to a request for comment, according to NBC News. He is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 15.

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