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Havre man accused of burning child

A man accused of burning a child with a lighter pleaded not guilty Jan. 23 in state District Court in Havre.

Patrick R. Schroeder, of Havre born in 1991, was officially charged Jan. 14 with one count of assault on a minor.

He pleaded not guilty Jan. 23 before District Judge Dan Boucher.

According to court documents, Child Protection Services brought a 5-year-old child to the Havre Police Department Jan. 6. after receiving reports that a child may have been abused by the mother’s boyfriend.

Ryan Pearson, senior patrol officer for the Havre Police Department, investigated this case.

The child reportedly had a small laceration surrounded by bruising on his upper right eyelid and a burn mark on the lower portion on his right shoulder.

The boy told Pearson that the injuries were caused by Schroeder, and that the burn on his arm was caused by a lighter being held to him.

Police then interviewed the boy's mother, who is Schroeder’s girlfriend. She told authorities that the boy was starting fires and that she and Schroeder thought that burning the boy would show him “that lighting fires was bad.”

When questioned, Schroeder said the bruising on the boy’s eye was an accident and that it was caused by the boy struggling as Schroeder was spanking him with a belt.

Schroeder also reportedly said that the lighter was used for “discipline purposes.”

If convicted, Schroeder faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. His next court date is scheduled for Feb. 23 at 9:30 a.m. at Hill County Courthouse.


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