A Havre man is in the Hill County jail on pending charges that he abused a minor after a day of drinking at a barbecue.
William B. Lavenger Jr., born in 1977, pleaded not guilty in state District Court in Havre to a felony charge of assault on a minor stemming from accusations he was punching a small child on the back. He is scheduled for an omnibus hearing May 28.
According to the charging documents, a woman and a child protective services caseworker contacted the Havre Police Department April 29 to report a child abuse issue.
The woman reported that she and the defendant and her children had held a barbecue with some out-of-town friends Saturday, April 27.
Lavenger had been drinking quite a lot, the woman told the officer interviewing her.
She stepped outside after the barbecue and then heard some crying, the woman said. When she went inside, she found Lavenger in a bedroom bent over holding the toddler-aged child by the neck and striking her back with a closed fist, the woman said.
She said she pulled him away, threw him out of the house and locked the door, the woman said.
The woman showed the officer photographs she had taken of the young girl’s back, which showed red marks, the documents said.