The mother of a Florida teen who recorded her father’s alleged abuse has filed a petition against the man and re-opened a custody battle that has been ongoing for years.
The Destin Log reports that Allison Tringas filed Petition for Injunction Against Domestic Violence on January 2, a week after her 14-year-old daughter brought police security footage proving that 47-year-old Damon Becnel abused her.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Becnel was arrested January 2 on child abuse and animal cruelty charges after his daughter secretly recorded him in their Destin home.
An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report indicated that the victim took the video to authorities on December 24. The video allegedly painted a disturbing picture of what went on at the home behind closed doors.
The incident started when the victim intervened after Becnel threatened to cut the family dog’s eyeballs out and “strangle the mother f*****.” He then allegedly picked the pup up by the throat and slammed it on the ground.
As the teen tried to protect her pet, her father grabbed her by the hair and pushed her. She ended up hitting her head on the headboard of a bed. A second part of the video shows the suspect with his hand still grabbing the girl’s hair. While screaming at the teen, Becnel then headbutted her.
The suspect has since bonded out of jail on $4,000. He’s scheduled for a plea hearing in February.
According to the petition, Becnel is accused of being drunk when he confronted the teen. He’s also accused of replying “maybe” when the girl asked if he planned to kill her.
The man is also accused of taking the girl’s cellphone away and stopping her from leaving the home.
″(She) escaped Damon’s house while he was asleep and walked miles to Walmart in Destin, purchased a burner phone and called her babysitter,” the petition read.
The petition indicated that Beclen allegedly threatened the teen following his arrest. He had his lawyer contact the teen and warn her that she will end up in foster care if she continued to talk about the alleged abuse.
Further, he’s accused of previous domestic violence issues, a history of mental health issues, drug and alcohol problems, and owning numerous guns.
In response to the petition, Becnel’s lawyer claimed that it “contains outright fabrications and will be opposed separately and on the merits or lack thereof.”
The attorney requested a continuance.
Online court documents state that the first continuance was scheduled for January 16. That hearing has been rescheduled to January 22.
“[Tringas] is the last person who should be representing the child and definitely does not have the child’s best interests in mind,” the response stated, indicating that the teen should have her own lawyer.
The continuance request claimed that Tringas has had issues with mental illness and substance abuse, to the point that a judge enforced restrictions on her parenting time.
Tringas told ABC 3 that both she and her daughter had been trying to get authorities involved in the alleged abuse against Becnel for a long time, but no one listened or believed them until the girl recorded him after installing security cameras in the home.
“Nothing was done. Nothing has ever been done to help my daughter,” Tringas said. “She absolutely knew that something bad was going to happen and nobody would believe her unless she had that on film.”
Since the filing of the petition, five judges have recused themselves from the case. Judge John J. Gontarek is currently presiding over both civil and criminal cases.
Beclen is reportedly the managing partner of 26 businesses, including the Sandestin Police Department Inc. Court records show he filed for divorce from Tringas in 2005. Since then, they’ve had an ongoing custody battle until 2016.
After the latest accusations, Tringas re-opened the custody case.
Chief Assistant State Attorney William Bishop previously indicated that Becnel is to have no contact with the victim.
“We have assigned this case to an experienced prosecutor who specializes in child abuse matters, she would be the assistant state attorney responsible for the prosecution. We intend to aggressively prosecute this case,” Bishop said.
The story is developing. Check back for updates.
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[Featured Photo: Damon Becnel/Police Handout]