Original article no longer available
Fort Pierce Tribune (FL)
November 20, 1992
Lucy Chabot, TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Divorce blamed on drug
PORT ST. LUCIE — The wife of Police Chief C.L. “Chuck” Reynolds attributes the behavior that lead to her estranged husband’s petition for divorce to his use of the anti-depressant Prozac.
Janet Reynolds said Thursday that stress has led her husband to act uncaringly and be insensitive toward her, her two sons whose homes were destroyed in Hurricane Andrew and other family members. The chief has been taking Prozac for about five or six months, she said, and the drug might be responsible for his behavior.
“There has been a complete personality change,” Janet Reynolds said. “He’s a good, kind person. This behavior is not him. It’s such a turnaround and it’s been so recent that I have to think it’s the drug.”
Chuck Reynolds filed for divorce Oct. 23 saying in court records that the marriage was irretrievably broken. The two no longer live together in their Hidden River Drive home.
Two weeks after the filing, Janet Reynolds accused her husband of burglarizing the home, taking her jewelry, pictures and two Persian cats. Although the locks had been changed, police say the break-in was not illegal. No charges were filed. Until the divorce is settled, the house belongs to both Reynolds.
But Janet Reynolds’ counter suit, filed Thursday in St. Lucie County, says “the husband is using his authority as Police Chief to put himself above the law and gain economic advantage in this suit and to further intimidate and harass the wife.”
Chuck Reynolds could not be reached for comment Thursday; his attorney, Karen O’Brien Steger of Stuart, did not return phone calls.
According to the counter suit, Chuck Reynolds left the couple`s home “in the middle of the night Oct. 10,” two weeks before he filed for divorce. He took all their credit cards and money, including funds in joint bank accounts.
Janet Reynolds’ attorney, J.D. Lewis of Lewis, Berger and Ferraro in Stuart, said his client has borrowed money from family and friends to pay bills. Janet Reynolds does not have any income and has spent much of her time involved with her husband`s career.
“Technically speaking, marital law says she is entitled to half of all their joint assets,” Lewis said. “He took more than half.”
The suit says that in the past three weeks, Chuck Reynolds has “displayed numerous physical and emotional outbursts” and has “become verbally abusive” — actions that are out of character. It adds that “the husband is currently under active psychiatric treatment” and has been prescribed Prozac .
When Chuck Reynolds filed for divorce, city officials were hesitant to comment, saying they would not get involved until his job performance was affected. Thursday, they again said it had not.
“There has been no evidence that anything has impacted him or his job negatively,” said City Manager Don Cooper, the chief’s direct supervisor.
“This is obviously a nasty divorce so what more is there to say? Until it affects the job, it’s none of my business.”
“If it were to affect his job,” Vice Mayor Patricia Christensen said of the Prozac, “something should be done, but as far as I know everything seems to be going OK. Until any complaints come in, I don`t know that it`s any of our business.”
The suit asks the court for an alimony bond because “there is a danger that the husband will not comply with the support order.” Lewis said that alimony bonds are not unusual in this type of case.
“In light of the facts of this case and his actions and what he’s done, I think it’s appropriate to ask for,” Lewis said.
Chuck Reynolds accused his wife of “marital misconduct” in his suit. Her suit denies that charge and alleges instead that he “has openly and admittedly committed adultery and is currently involved in an extra-marital affair.”
The Reynolds have known each other since high school and have been married 20 years. Janet Reynolds has been visible and vocal since her husband became chief two years ago. She earned the name “Mrs. Chief” because of her high-profile involvement in the Police Department.
Edition: St. Lucie County
Record Number: 1018B64A4BECFB6B
Copyright, 1992, E.W. Scripps Company