A conversation with Steve Bach's ex-wife



Steve Bach
  • Steve Bach

When I spoke with Marian Volk this afternoon, she was both friendly and frazzled.

Steve Bach's ex-wife says she never wanted to be in the media spotlight, and has no interest in being on TV or radio. That, she tells me, is why she sent out anonymous notes to the media urging an investigation of their 1969 divorce, which was caused by abuse, according to court documents.

"This was not intended to be a big thing," she says. "... And they keep saying, 'Oh, it's a woman scorned.' I'm happily married! I brought this up only because he's pretending to be something he isn't. I didn't care that he was doing real estate. That's why I never brought it up before. I don't even care who wins the election ... I didn't get into this to do a big drama thing."

But, she says: "I think it's vital that people realize, this is what he did."

Volk has already described scenes of being beaten bloody during her nine-month marriage to Bach. She says Bach even bent his wedding ring from hitting her so hard.

Now, Volk is the subject of a media parade. She says she's having a difficult time keeping her meetings with her business clients because her phone is ringing off the hook. Her elderly mother, who didn't want bad memories dredged up, is so distraught she's close to being ill.

And Volk is tired too. Partially, it seems, she is just tired of telling her story again and again. It's hard, she says, to relive this stuff. Nevertheless, Volk says she will be asking a friend who remembers those times to get in touch with the media.

"[Bach] says there's not one shred of evidence," Volk says. "He's going to be very, very embarrassed when people say, 'I remember it well.'"

(Bach reacted Friday by calling Volk's claims "utterly unfounded," which you can read in John Hazlehurst's blog here.)

By the way, Volk says she has no knowledge of how Bach has behaved himself since their 1969 divorce. But she says she did receive a letter from Bach's second wife, Jane Netzorg. Volk says Netzorg told her she'd never discuss her marriage to Bach because the two had a child together.

"She said she was now happily married to an ethical man and she refused to get into it, because she wanted a good relationship with the kid and the dad," Volk says.

Since her story came out, Volk has been the subject of sympathy and scorn. Some have said it's up to her to prove that she was abused.

But others might disagree. After all, as proof goes, Volk certainly has the advantage. Bach agreed in a court of law back in 1969 that he inflicted "mental and physical cruelty" upon his ex-wife — exactly the treatment that Volk now describes.

Faced with the document, Bach now says that was a a fib, conjured up to get out of a marriage during a time when the courts were less than friendly to divorces, except in the most dire circumstances. And he has plenty of defenders. Even 40 years later, some Bach supporters allege, Volk is still so upset at being cast aside by a man she was married to for nine months that she's making up a slew of lies.

It's possible.

But during a hotly contested campaign, it's easy to see how Bach could tie himself in knots trying to defend this one.

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