Exclusive: ABC7's Cheryl Burton interviews former CeaseFire Director Tio Hardiman

June 7, 2013 (CHICAGO)

In a one-on-one interview, Hardiman said he is trying to face his domestic battery arrest head-on.

"I have fallen from grace. It is not easy to deal with this," said Hardiman.

In an exclusive interview, Hardiman said he is sorry his recent charges of domestic battery cast a negative light on his antiviolence efforts.

"I would like to apologize to the governor, the mayor, Superintendent McCarthy," said Hardiman. "I feel bad that this negative attention has descended upon my life, my family, my personal life has been brought to the forefront, but I am not running and hiding -- that should say a lot -- I'm not trying to be Drew Peterson."

Hillside police arrested Hardiman last week after his wife said he hit her in the face, kicked her, and caused a small cut on her neck.

Outside court this week, Hardiman's wife's lawyer, Ferdinand Serpe, said she was pummeled.

"Her words were she was beaten like an animal," said Serpe.

"Here's the reality... I am a 240-pound man... I know how to fight a little bit, OK? So, if I had beaten my wife like an animal, she would not have been able to walk to the car and go to the police station at all and refuse medical treatment; if you beat a person like an animal, that just doesn't happen," said Hardiman. "Once again, for the record, no, I did not put my hands on my wife."

This is not the first time Hardiman has been in trouble with the law for domestic violence. In 1999, he pled guilty to battery after his first wife claimed he punched her and pushed her to the ground, saying: "When I get finished with you, nobody's gonna want you."

"I don't recall even making that statement at all," said Hardiman. "Something occurred back in 1999, but if you look at my track record from 1999 up until 2013, I have been an absolute peacemaker, and I didn't just wake up all of a sudden on May 31st and say, 'it's time to commit an act of violence,'" said Hardiman.

Hardiman is due back in court July 2nd and adamantly denies that he beat his wife. Both the 1999 and current charges are misdemeanors.

Hardiman plans to start his own business if he cannot work things out with CeaseFire.

Hardiman's wife's attorney told ABC7 Friday afternoon that Hardiman is trying to "prove his innocence" in the media, and when his client showed up at his office, she showed clear signs of being attacked.

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