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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Head of Spokane detox services arrested in Montana; plea deal in jeopardy

The head of an addiction treatment organization in Spokane has placed himself on voluntary medical leave after being arrested in Montana for being drunk and unruly in a hotel room.

It’s the second time in six months Jon D. Schlenske has faced charges, and the newest legal scrape puts his February plea deal in jeopardy

Police in Great Falls arrested Schlenske at 3 a.m. March 19 in the Staybridge Hotel. A hotel clerk told police that Schlenske had threatened him and other guests when the clerk responded to Schlenske’s room after several noise complaints, according to court documents.

The police officer who responded found several empty beer bottles and an empty bottle of Fireball liquor in the room, according to court documents. Schlenske’s blood-alcohol content measured 0.23 percent. The standard for being legally drunk in Montana is 0.08 percent.

Schlenske was alone in the room with his disabled 2-year-old son, court documents say. He was arrested on suspicion of endangering the welfare of a child, misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct.

In February he agreed to a plea deal in which the misdemeanor assault charge would be dismissed in two years if he stayed out of trouble. In that case Schlenske was accused of grabbing a woman outside a Liberty Lake bar and pushing her up against his car. Police said he was intoxicated at the time.

Spokane County Prosecutor Larry Haskell said the new arrest will be treated as a probation violation and that Schlenske could face new sanctions or his plea deal could be revoked.

Schlenske’s attorney, Chris Bugbee, said he hopes the court does not revoke the deal and instead orders alcohol addiction treatment.

“I hope we end up addressing the underlying conditions,” the attorney said.

Bugbee said the board of directors at the detox organization, which is now known as Spokane Treatment and Recovery Services, has been advised of Schlenske’s arrest. After his previous arrest the board supported Schlenske. The board chair did not return a call seeking comment Friday.

“This is a very good man who is trying to help needy people in the community but has his own issues,” Bugbee said.