Below Deck chief stew Kate Chastain has been “living in a dark and twisted nightmare” since her arrest for the alleged assault and attempted strangulation of her girlfriend Rocio “Ro” Hernandez in June of last year. Kate has said on numerous occasions that the allegations made by Ro were “completely fictitious,” but she has been unable to share details under the advisement of her attorney.
With Kate returning for the new season of Below Deck tonight, we decided we would research her case for an update — and it looks like GREAT NEWS for Kate! According to Florida court records, Kate’s felony charge of Domestic Battery By Strangulation was dropped to a misdemeanor charge of Battery. The second charge of Battery Domestic Violence was disposed by the prosecutor in May, which means that charge was completely dropped!
The remaining misdemeanor Battery charge was granted a pre-trial diversion in June, which usually means that it too will dropped after Kate completes some sort of court-mandated program. Here is how Florida criminal defense attorney Peter Michael Collins explains it on Avvo:
Pre-Trial Diversion is a program generally open to people who do not have a prior criminal record. If an accused person enters the program, they sign a contract with the prosector and are essentially placed on probation for a specific period of time, usually three months on misdemeanors or up to 18 months on felonies. While in the program, they must complete certain conditions, such as community service, drug counseling if appropriate, and pay certain fees. There can be other conditions of the program depending on the charge. The advantage to to the program is that if they successfully complete it, their charges are dropped. The disadvantage to the program is that sometimes people who are not guilty of the charge see it as the easiest way to get the charges dropped without having to defend themselves. Another disadvantage is that a person is only eligble for the program one time. If a person “fails” the program, they go back to court and face the charges again. A person in a pre-trial diversion program should be able to leave the state but if they are on pre-trial diversion for a felony charge they need to get approval from the supervisor of the program before traveling.
All of this seemed to be confirmed by Kate in a brief new interview with Bravo’s The Daily Dish:
“Everything has been dropped, and will all be clear in March,” Kate says of the charges. She goes on the reveal how the traumatic experience has affected her personal relationships since. “It hasn’t really changed my approach to dating at all,” she says. “After that bad relationship, I am a little bit more careful about who I allow into my life. But, I still haven’t met anybody I’m into yet, so I’m not sure.”
A producer then asks if she has spoke with Ro at all. “No,” Kate says flatly.
We are thrilled for Kate that all of this will soon officially be behind her — and we are also thrilled to see her (and Captain Lee and the rest) back on our TVs as Below Deck Season 5 premieres tonight at 9/8c on Bravo!!
Here’s the Season 5 preview trailer to tide you over until then: