Man admits assaulting woman because she was late for hospital trip

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — A Monroe County man accused of assaulting and terrorizing his girlfriend because she was late driving him to an appointment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center has pleaded guilty to related charges.

James Woodling, 33, of Stroudsburg, was upset because Courtney McKee was late in returning from a shopping trip Nov. 9, 2015, authorities report. McKee alleged Woodling smashed her cell phone and eyeglasses and pushed her, damaging a railing inside their home.

Woodling also threatened to kill McKee’s dog if she didn’t drive him to the hospital, court records say.

When McKee attempted to leave their home to use a neighbor’s phone, Woodling allegedly grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to a vehicle.

While traveling to the hospital, McKee alleged Woodling stopped to purchase heroin and cigarettes. Woodling used the heroin during the trip and threatened her not to make a scene inside the hospital, according to court records.

Once Woodling was taken into treatment and out of sight, McKee notified hospital staff that she was taken to the hospital against her will.

During a hearing before Luzerne County Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. on Monday, Woodling pleaded guilty to unlawful restraint, simple assault and terroristic threats.

Prosecutors withdrew charges of intimidation of a victim, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended license.

Woodling’s trial was continued several times in 2016 and 2017 due to in-patient treatment. His case was scheduled for trial until he opted to plead guilty.

Sklarosky Jr. said Woodling will be sentenced March 5.

By Ed Lewis

[email protected]