Father of 'affluenza teen' Ethan Couch charged with assault

Frederick Couch was charged in connection with an alleged choking incident involving a girlfriend, it was reported Friday.
Fred Couch
In this April 13, 2016, photo, Fred Couch, father of Ethan Couch, arrives for a court hearing in Fort Worth, Texas.LM Otero / AP, file

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By Phil Helsel

The father of the so-called "affluenza teen" has been charged with assault stemming from an incident in which he allegedly choked his girlfriend, according to Texas prosecutors.

The Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney says that Frederick Couch, father of Ethan Couch, was charged in an alleged choking episode in July, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported Friday.

Ethan Couch made national news as a 16-year-old when his attorneys invoked an "affluenza" defense after Ethan Couch was charged with killing four people in a 2013 drunken-driving crash.

His defense at trial included a witness who said Ethan Couch's parents coddled him so much that it gave him no sense of responsibility for his actions. A psychologist at the manslaughter trial dubbed it "affluenza." That condition isn't recognized as a diagnosis by the American Psychiatric Association.

A juvenile court sentenced Ethan Couch to 10 years' probation, and in December 2015, he was accused of violating that probation after video appeared to show him at a party where alcohol was served.

He and his mother fled to Mexico, evading authorities for several weeks, and in 2016 Ethan Couch was sentenced to 720 days in jail. Ethan Couch was released from jail in April 2018, the Associated Press reported at the time.

Online court records appear to show an initial appearance is scheduled for Oct. 15. No one answered at phone numbers listed as possibly being connected with him early Saturday. A message left with an attorney who appears to represent him based on online court records was not immediately returned.

Associated Press contributed.