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Southcoast Health leader arrested for alleged domestic assault

Keith Hovan pictured in 2018.handout

Southcoast Health president and CEO Keith Hovan was arrested over the weekend for allegedly striking his wife during a domestic dispute that escalated after the couple argued over which TV show to watch, according to legal filings.

Hovan, 59, of Rochester, was arrested Saturday on a sole count of misdemeanor assault and battery, and his wife later posted $240 bail at the police station, records show. Hovan was arraigned Monday in Wareham District Court, where a not guilty plea was entered for him. He was released on personal recognizance.

Hovan’s lawyer declined to comment.

Police reports filed in court said the couple’s daughter called 911 Saturday night, and that a responding officer who knocked on the front door was met by Hovan, who exited with his hands in the air and said “something along the lines of, ‘It was me, I did it, my arm hit her in the face.’”

At the time, the report said, Hovan was “covered” in a liquid that “smelled of an alcoholic beverage.”


Hovan’s wife, who appeared “visibly shaken,” later told police the couple had a “stupid argument” over the television, and that she went over to a chair in the living room to begin writing in her journal.

Then, she told police, Hovan tried to grab the journal from her, and a struggle ensued that resulted in his arm striking her face. The officer, the report said, noted Hovan’s wife had what appeared to be blood droplets on her pajama shirt, as well as a red mark below her right eye “consistent with an impact of some kind.”

Police also said Hovan had “in excess of forty firearms” located in the home; authorities seized the guns and suspended his license to carry, court papers show. Hovan’s next court date is slated for Nov. 24.


The Board of Trustees at Southcoast Health, which runs hospitals in locales including New Bedford and Fall River, addressed the matter in a statement to staff Tuesday. A spokesperson shared the note with the Globe Wednesday morning.

“President Hovan immediately made the Board aware [of his arrest] the following morning,” the trustees said. “The Board met on several occasions to review the details as they became available and discussed next steps. Out of respect for the privacy of the Hovan family and to allow for the matter to be adjudicated, we will refrain from further comment at this time. The Hovan family has the full support of the Board as they deal with this personal family matter.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.