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In the days since Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer’s first public comments on Zach Smith and the former assistant’s alleged domestic abuse, additional details have continued to emerge about Smith’s interactions with law enforcement.
Hours after Brett McMurphy reported that Meyer, who was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday, may have known of Smith’s alleged abuse three years before firing him, documents freshly obtained by Cleveland.com provided more context on Smith’s troubled relationship with his ex-wife, Courtney.
Zach Smith, who was fired last week, has never been charged with domestic violence. But nine different police reports spanning more than six years, plus Courtney’s interview with Stadium, add to our understanding of what allegedly occurred between the couple, who divorced in 2016.
Timeline of Smith’s alleged abuse and what Meyer knew
In 2009, Courtney reportedly accused Zach of domestic violence. Documents obtained by McMurphy showed that Courtney told police that Zach “picked her up by grabbing her T-shirt and threw her against the bedroom wall” after a heated argument. Zach, at the time, was on Meyer’s staff at Florida. Meyer revealed last week that he knew of the alleged 2009 incident.
The police reports, the first of which is from 2012, reveal what cleveland.com describes as “a handful of child custody disputes.”
A police report from Oct. 21, 2015, contains the first evidence of domestic problems since the alleged 2009 incident. It notes that Courtney, who called police because she believed she was being followed by a man in a black SUV, was “having issues with her soon-to-be ex-husband.”
Per McMurphy, on Oct. 25, with the couple separated, Zach went to Courtney’s house and, according to Courtney, “took me and shoved me up against the wall, with his hands around my neck,” after an argument.
At 10:01 a.m. on Oct. 26, according to another police report, Courtney told police she wanted to file a restraining order against Zach.
Per McMurphy, Zach was investigated that same day “on felony counts of domestic violence and felonious assault.”
Per McMurphy, Shelley Meyer, wife of Urban, exchanged texts with Courtney Smith that displayed knowledge of the abuse. Courtney told Stadium that she sent pictures to Shelley. Here’s one 2015 text exchange, via McMurphy:
Shelley Meyer: “I am with you! A lot of women stay hoping it will get better. I don’t blame you! But just want u to be safe. Do you have a restraining order? He scares me”
Courtney Smith: “Restraining orders don’t do anything in Ohio-I tried to get protection order which is what started this whole investigation. And that should go through soon finally. It’s hard bc you have to prove immediate danger. Legal system is tough. Basically you have to prove he will kill u to get protective order”
Shelley Meyer: “Geesh! Even w the pics? Didn’t law enforcement come to your place ever??”
Courtney recently told McMurphy: “All the [coaches] wives knew. They all did. Every single one.
“Shelley said she was going to have to tell Urban. I said: ‘That’s fine, you should tell Urban.’ I know Shelley did everything she could.”
On Nov. 5, another text exchange between Courtney Smith and Lindsey Voltolini, the wife of another Ohio State staff member, seems to show that Urban Meyer knew of the allegations:
Courtney: “[Zach’s] trying to make me look crazy bc that’s what Shelley is saying [he’s doing]”
Lindsey: “[Urban] just said [Zach] denied everything”
Courtney: “I hope urban is smarter than that”
Lindsey: “[Urban] doesn’t know what to think”
Urban, speaking at 2018 Big Ten Media Days, said the 2015 accusation was “nothing,” and said he only became aware of it after firing Smith.
On Nov. 9, per McMurphy, Zach Smith was charged with menacing by stalking.
On Nov. 10, per McMurphy, Courtney was granted a restraining order against Zach.
On Nov. 12, Courtney filed for a divorce.
2016 and 2017
On Jan. 5, 2016, Courtney was pulled over for speeding. The police report mentions that she was crying, and “stated that she was having domestic issues with her ex.” Courtney also said local authorities were aware of the issues.
On Sept. 1, 2016, the Smiths officially divorced.
On Dec. 17, 2017, Courtney told police that neighbors caught Zach looking through the windows of Courtney’s home and car and banging on her door at 1:30 a.m. Zach was issued a trespass warning.
Per McMurphy, citing an arrest report, on July 18, Zach was handed a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespassing for dropping the couple’s son off at Courtney’s house, as opposed to at a pre-arranged location.
Courtney filed a civil protection order against Zach on July 20, 2018.
Early on the morning of July 23, McMurphy released his report.
On the evening of July 23, Ohio State fired Zach Smith.
The following day, July 24, Meyer, speaking at Big Ten Media Days, addressed Smith’s firing and what he did and didn’t know about the alleged abuse.
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