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Woman accused of assaulting Navy sailor at Connecticut pizza shop arrested

Lori Desjardins, 45, from Southington, turned herself in at police headquarters on Thursday.
Credit: Berlin PD
Lori Desjardins

BERLIN, Connecticut — The woman caught on camera screaming at and hitting a Navy sailor at a Berlin pizza shop last week has been arrested after a warrant was issued, police announced Friday.

Lori Desjardins, from Southington, turned herself in at police headquarters on Thursday. She was charged with one count of assault in the 3rd degree and one count of breach of peace in the 2nd degree.

The incident happened at Central Pizza on Mill Street in Berlin on Sept. 11. The 45-year-old woman allegedly slapped Sean Nolte Jr., who told police in the incident report that the stinging pain lasted for about two hours.

RELATED: 'Being in uniform, I must maintain professionalism' | Navy sailor berated, assaulted in video at Berlin pizza shop speaks out

The exchange was caught on video and quickly went viral.

“This is disgusting! Disgusting! Show his uniform. Show his uniform,” Desjardins yelled at Nolte, who was wearing his Navy fatigues. “You disgrace the U.S.! You disgrace the U.S.A!”

She claimed the uniform that Nolte was wearing was “fake.”

In a Facebook post, Nolte, who is stationed in Groton and is attending the Naval Submarine School, said he attempted to reason with the woman. He said he pulled out his military ID to show that he was in fact in the U.S. armed forces.

“Being in uniform, I must maintain professionalism, so I stand there and proceed to wish her a nice day,” Nolte wrote on Facebook. “Well, looks like some of our people can’t recognize authenticity when they see it.”

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In a statement to police, Desjardins, who allegedly hit Nolte twice, said she has a history of mental health issues and alcohol abuse. Her statement went on to say that Nolte was “being sarcastic.”

“I believe he was lying and not actually in the military, which I take very seriously,” she continued. “I am very sorry for my actions.

Reacting to Desjardins’ arrest, Nolte’s aunt and uncle in Pennsylvania told FOX61 News: “Personally, I do not think she should have got bond… At the end of the day, justice was served.”

Outside Central Pizza, Leticia Guerra showed FOX61 News pictures of her son who is also a Navy sailor and went to boot camp with Nolte.

“To see that actually happen to somebody who went to boot camp with my son makes me very angry and she should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law for what she did," said Guerra.

RELATED: Video shows woman assaulting military service member at Berlin pizza place

Desjardins social media profile says she was a behavioral health care planner at Aetna. The insurance company responded to inquiries about her employment saying, “she is no longer employed.”

In the arrest warrant, police said they were able to identify Desjardins after she was recognized by an officer with the Southington Police Department who said he had numerous interactions with her.

Desjardins was released on a $10,000 non-surety bond and is scheduled to appear at Superior Court New Britain on Sept. 23.

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