Caravati charged: Former mayor arrested for spouse assault

Details of the incident that resulted in a domestic violence charge against former Charlottesville Mayor J. Blake Caravati did not emerge Friday, September 16 when he appeared in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. His arrest, however, has already sent shockwaves through the community.

"It's a sad situation," says current Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris, who though never serving in office alongside Caravati, knows him through Democratic political circles.

First elected to City Council in 1998 after launching his campaign from the grounds of the railroad station on West Main Street, Caravati told prospective voters he hoped to locate a transit center on the site. Two years later, he assumed the mantle of mayor.

During his mayorship, Caravati took an active role in infrastructure issues. Although he admited surprise when, during his term at the helm, Martha Jefferson Hospital suddenly announced that it was leaving downtown, Caravati was mayor when Council launched the redesign of the Downtown Mall with a $369,000 contract to a Philadelphia design firm. He would win acclaim from some citizens for eventually reversing his earlier stance in opposition to the controversial road that would link downtown and U.S. 29, the Meadowcreek Parkway.

Caravati won reelection to a second four-year Council term in 2002 even as his ticket-mate made history for becoming the first Democrat in a generation to suffer defeat to a Republican. Yet Caravati's fortunes soured at 8:04pm on Friday, September 9. That's when the 60-year-old contractor and Democratic party insider was arrested, photographed, and charged with misdemeanor assault and battery of a family member.

According to the warrant, Charlottesville Police Officer S. Douglass performed the arrest at the magistrate's office after Caravati allegedly battered his wife, Paula. Caravati resides in the 1100 block of Little High Street in a home that the couple purchased in 1990, according to city records. City Police spokesperson Ronnie Roberts says he's not aware of anyone getting transported for medical treatment.

Reached by email, the former mayor declined comment, and attorney Sheila Haughey did not immediately return the Hook's call. 

Caravati is not the first former mayor to face assault charges this year. Frank Buck, who held the City's top elected seat from 1980-1988, admitted that he throttled a client in late 2010 while the two argued in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. After his arrest, Buck pressed charges of abusive language against the client, and in early March the two reached a civil settlement as charges against both men were dropped.

The owner of Charlottesville-based Vector Construction, Caravati serves on the boards of several nonprofits including the Piedmont Council for the Arts and Offender Aid and Restoration, the latter which, according to its website, "works to break the cycle of crime by helping defendants/offenders to be more accountable, lead more productive lives and develop more constructive lifestyles through low-cost alternatives to incarceration."

If convicted of the Class One misdemeanor, Caravati could face up to a year behind bars and a $2,500 fine.

Read more on: Blake Caravati


Sad story. Blake's a nice guy and cares for his community.

In your history of miscreant mayors you forgot Samuel McCue, the Mayor of Charlottesville executed in 1905 for the murder of his wife Fannie. He and his wife lived on Park Street, in Comyn Hall now under renovation. Assertedly McCue took the rap to protect the real killer, his mistress. He is said to be the last man hanged in Charlottesville's old stone jail. cf.

So. There's a pattern here. When we elect a new Mayor instead of a gavel we should give them complimentary handcuffs.

In your list of miscreant mayors you left out J. Samuel McCue, the mayor who was hanged in 1905 for the Sunday, Sept. 4, 1904 murder of his wife Fannie. McCue allegedly took the rap to protect the real murderer, his mistress. McCue and his wife lived on Park Street in Comyn Hall, now under renovation. He is said to be the last man hanged in Charlottesville's old stone jail. McCue was hanged on Feb. 10, 1905 at 7:34 am.

What happen to innocent until proven guilty. Blake is a good guy.....does a ton for the community in both his public and private lives. None of us know the details of this event. I trust that the legal system will evaluate the details and decide accordingly based on facts. As for the media frenzy over this.....Blake is no longer a public servant and doesnt he deserve the same privacy we all want? just my opinion......

@ Robin: When you're in a "Listen up, support this City Council candidate because I do" role then you will be just as attention-grabbing when something bad happens. This isn't unfair but it's a good reason not to go into politics.

Good deal of chatter here and everywhere regarding Mr. Caraviti’s good works, temperament, his championing ironically mandating arrests if law enforcement personnel have probable cause to believe domestic violence may have occurred, and even the political affiliations of his attorney. One thing is missing. There is no chatter regarding the victim, Mrs. Caravati.

Many press article state Mrs. Caravati did not have to receive hospital care which means she has not suffered blunt trauma, broken bones and the like. A common thread among all domestic violence victims regardless of their class or race, men women children, is keeping it secret. They do not report it to a family lawyer, a cleric or a group which can give counsel because they are afraid their secret may be revealed.

Obviously the crime is alleged. The cries regarding press exposure is understandable. A person who they many know has been charged for a crime which they find incomprehensible. Another reason victims do not report before police have to be called. In this case the alleged perpetrator is a well-liked person who has done much good including support of victim-friendly laws. Remember, Charlottesville is the home of free press. Mr. Jefferson in a 1792 letter to George Washington wrote, “No government ought to be without censors and where the press is free, no one ever will.”

Let’s all have some respect for the Caravati family because this is a no-win situation for all.

Robin- well, nothing.....and we shall see Friday.

He is getting the privacy that we would all get in such a case.

Being that he's only being arraigned and to plead, there'll be no details forthcoming, but once accused twice convicted in this court when it comes to domestic violence charges unless little missy decides to recant. Otherwise Mr. Caravati will have to get rid of all his guns if he owns any..

Can't speak about CPD but many police departments have a rule requiring them to arrest somebody -- one spouse or the other -- when they've been called to a scene of reported domestic violence.

Anyone who's spent much time in domestic courts in the area will tell you that it's a very frequent thing to have the alleged victim appear by the time of trial asking that the charge be dismissed.

In other words, there's a whole range of possibilities about the real facts here, including some that are not necessarily so inculpatory.

@Publius- That is not a rule of Police Departments, but is required by VA state code. It states that when law enforcement responds to a domestic with signs of injury, then they SHALL make an arrest of the predominant aggressor. So what we do know, is there was some sign of injury, no telling how miniscule. Just food for thought....

Blake Caravati is an honorable man, make no mistake. His wife is a wonderful, gracious and intelligent lady (not to mention beautiful and also very honorable). And, I mean lady. Whatever happened is not of our concern. They can make up their private differences. We should all be priveleged to know them.

Give me a frickin' break, Donald.

Donald has apparently had too much of the Cville Kool-Aid. Beat your wife it's OK with the good ole boys! That's what they do in a "world class city."

Just another story in the cement jungle. So he was a mayor, big deal, he's just like the rest of us with the same human emotions. He lost his temper for who knows what reason and beat his wife. Happens every day. men are pigs Men with more notable names are bigger pigs. You think Bill Clinton is a wonderful husband, Tiger Wood? The list goes on.

Mow- I think you are on to something. Perhaps his wife was too much of a lady and too never know..............not sure that all men are pigs, though.

Donald- should we all learn from Mr. Caravati as well?

"An honorable man" is what Blake would like people to think, but many among us who've known him for a long time will consider him a relentless self promoter who's always had his eye on the main chance. That's not to say being a relentless self promoter and looking out for #1 is a bad thing, just that doing so while wrapping oneself in the flag, so to speak, is just a tad two faced. Maybe like the guy played by martin Sheen in "The dead zone", this incident is a view into the "real Blake". Just saying...

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Isn't he gay?

no tolerance. we cant be hittin the women..

While the comments devolve into levity..How about the one about: "What do you tell a woman with 2 black eyes?".

I'll bite.

Mow- google it.

It's the sound of one hand clapping.

Love all the comments from the folks praising the perp, or telling everyone to leave him alone. I'm SURE they'd be saying exactly the same thing if this was a Republican politician. ::eye roll::

He has a history of verbal abuse and bullying people he thinks have inconvenienced or disrespected him.
His temper isn't all that hard to get to rise to the surface. The fact that she didn't require treatment is totally irrelevant to the alleged battery. This event doesn't surprise me at all.

Seenitbefore@"people he thinks have inconvenienced or disrespected him".For a damn Democrat,he's starting to sound like an OK dude.

It doesn't matter who the person is, or what background they're from. Spousal abuse occurs everywhere in America.

Just ask Bill Clinton, or the special agent assigned to the private quarters in the WH. "If it wasn't bolted down, she was throwing it at him".......unsolicited off hand statement from a special agent on a Virginia golf course.