November 26, 2013 Updated: November 26, 2013 at 11:55 am
A top-ranking soldier in Fort Carson's secretive Green Berets was jailed Saturday on allegations of physically assaulting his elderly mother-in-law.
Jerry Lentz Lambert, 52, was booked into Teller County jail on suspicion of a crime against an at-risk person, third-degree assault and child abuse after authorities say he forced a plate of food into the 82-year-old woman's face and rammed her wheelchair into a table.
The woman's injuries did not require her to be hospitalized, family members said. Lambert was released Monday afternoon after posting $1,000 bail.
Police decided to pursue a child abuse charge because children were home and witnessed the alleged attack in the 1500 block of Crestview Way, said Woodland Park police Sgt. Thomas Kinney.
The 10th Special Forces Group - or Green Berets - confirmed Monday that Lambert works in the unit as a command sergeant major, the highest rank available to enlisted soldiers.
Green Berets send small teams of specialized soldiers to carry out confidential missions across the globe, including Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa.
An arrest affidavit says the 82-year-old, who suffers from dementia, was found bleeding from the mouth and wrists when officers responded to investigate a 14-year-old girl's report of a "drunk father that was beating on a grandmother."
When asked about the injuries, Lambert sat on a couch with his arms folded across his chest and refused to speak, police said in an arrest affidavit.
He became "verbally and physically uncooperative" and was taken into custody after an officer forced him to his feet, the affidavit said.
Court papers do not address whether Lambert was "drunk," as his daughter told police.
The girl told police the injuries occurred as Lambert was attempting to force the woman to eat. She said he "started shoving" a plate of food into the older woman's face, causing a laceration, and repeatedly shoved her wheelchair under a dining room table, injuring her wrists.
The teenager told police she "pushed her father away and told him to stop."
After cleaning blood from her grandmother's wrists, she said she "had to push her father away a second time," leading to her call to police.
Lambert couldn't be reached for comment, but his wife, Myra Lambert, attributed her daughter's call to police to a misunderstanding.
In an interview with The Gazette, Myra Lambert acknowledged her husband had been drinking but said he didn't intend to harm her mother, who suffers from dementia and has been living with the family for three or four years.
She said the woman had fallen while getting out of the shower earlier in the day - taking Lambert to the floor with her - and that her husband didn't realize the woman's wrists were being pinned when he was trying to position her wheelchair under the table.
"She's been very good to him," Myra Lambert said. "He would never, ever do that on purpose."
The couple has been married 32 years and settled in the Pikes Peak region six or seven years ago, she said. Her mother requires constant care, with Lambert helping frequently, Myra Lambert said.
"He's always taking care of her," the woman added. "He has to help me with her all the time because she can't walk."
The couple's 8-year-old grandson also lives in the home.
Lambert has served in the military for more than three decades, according to biographical material furnished by the 10th Special Forces Group. He has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo and is the recipient of the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor and numerous other citations.