Former Cape mayor Marni Sawicki gets restraining order against ex-husband

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FILE: Former Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki

The ex-husband of former Cape Coral mayor Marni Sawicki received a restraining order Thursday.

Ken Retzer, who spoke through an attorney, pleaded guilty and accepted a deal where he will only serve community service.

He was previously accused of attacking the one-term mayor last year during a conference in Miami.

A judge granted permanent restraining orders for Marni Sawicki and her two children, which means Retzer will be unable to go near them.

Sawicki said this restraining order means so much more than just a piece of paper.

“Knowing that he would have access to my children after his sentencing was up, as a mom that just doesn’t sit with me,” Sawicki said.

Sawicki, an advocate against domestic violence, strives to help other women.

“I have been written, I’ve been contacted, I’ve been called by so many women who are in similar situations,” Sawicki said. “And they don’t know how to navigate through the system.”

On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

For restraining orders, a 2004 study cites, “abused women who apply and qualify for a two-year protection order … report significantly lower levels of violence during the subsequent 18 months.”

Sawicki made the choice to share her story in the hopes of helping other victims.

“I know I was afforded certain privileges that others weren’t,” Sawicki said. “It’s just, for me, I’m praying that we can make some changes so that other women don’t have to go through those hurdles.”

Retzer must surrender any firearms and enroll in a 26-week batterer’s intervention program.

More: Abuse counseling and treatment offered in SWFL

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