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Hillsborough man caught encouraging son to fight arrested again

TAMPA — Philip Scott Struthers, the man made famous earlier this year for encouraging his teenage son to fight on an Internet video, was arrested Sunday morning and accused of head-butting his wife.

The arrest could put at risk a court decision reached just last week to reduce and perhaps later dismiss charges against Struthers from that earlier episode.

In the latest case, Struthers, 42, of 12207 Branch Acres Road near Tampa faces a domestic violence battery charge and is scheduled to have his first court appearance on the charge this morning.

"It causes the decision we just achieved in the other case to be in jeopardy, no question," his attorney, John Trevena, said Sunday. "This is extremely serious."

Last week, charges related to the incident earlier this year with Struther's 16-year-old son were reduced from a felony child abuse charge and a misdemeanor charge for contributing to the delinquency of a minor to two counts of contributing to delinquency of a minor.

As part of a pretrial intervention program, the court ruled those charges could later be dropped as well if Struthers completes a parenting class. He had earlier completed an anger-management class, Trevena said.

Struthers and his wife, Kimberly Anne Struthers, are in the process of getting a divorce, Trevena said, but denies there was any physical abuse.

Early Sunday, Kimberly Struthers came into a district station of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office with a bloodied nose and bruised right eye, said sheriff's spokesman Larry Mc­Kinnon.

She told deputies she had been living out of her car since Wednesday and went home Saturday night to get some belongings.

An argument with her husband turned physical when she attempted to leave, she told deputies. The couple's son was at home, but was outside and did not witness the fight, the Sheriff's Office said.

Struthers was arrested at his home about 7:30 a.m., an arrest report shows.

Kimberly Struthers defended her husband after the video of their son's fight went viral on the Internet in April, but made no comment when he appeared in court last Monday.

The video showed Struthers on the sidelines of a brawl, shouting "punch his eyes out" and "slam his head on the ground" as his son battled another boy. Struthers later appeared on Good Morning America.

He said his son experienced bullying for months, leading to the fight.

Struthers was being held Sunday without bail at the Orient Road Jail. Records show he previously was held on a domestic battery charge in 2005, but the charge was dropped when his wife did not appear in court.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Sarah Whitman can be reached at (813) 404-7766.

Hillsborough man caught encouraging son to fight arrested again 12/18/11 [Last modified: Sunday, December 18, 2011 8:46pm]
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