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Pa. state trooper pepper sprays 13-year-old boy who skipped school

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Is it my imagination, or do bizarre stories like this just seem to breed in Pennsylvania? The latest cooky story involves a cop who decided that pepper-spraying his girlfriend’s lazy kid was the most appropriate way to motivate the teen to get out of bed and go to school.

The USA Today reported on Dec. 31 that Pennsylvania State Trooper Ernest Boatright faces a Jan. 22 preliminary hearing on child endangerment and harassment charges. The incident occurred in April of 2013, but it wasn’t until formal charges were filed in November that the story came to light.

Boatright was suspended and placed on unpaid leave after Fayette County Child Welfare Services contacted law enforcement and pressed charges against the veteran trooper.

Boatright, 48, of Penn Hills, has been a trooper since 1989 and had been working out of the New Stanton barracks.

Investigators said Boatright claimed he had only pepper sprayed two cats in an enclosed porch of a home shared by his girlfriend and her teenage son. The boy told a different story, stating Boatright entered his bedroom in April and sprayed him because he would not get up for school.

The boy also told police that the trooper had sprayed him before with the toxic substance.

Matthew Zatko, Boatright’s attorney, said his client “categorically denies all of the allegations and welcomes the opportunity to defend himself and clear his name.”

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