UNIONTOWN, Pa., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania State Trooper Ernest Boatwright was charged after police said he shot pepper spray into the bedroom of his girlfriend's son, 13.
Boatwright, 48, found the teen still in bed in the Menallen Township, Pa., home the boy shares with his mother, instead of in school, and discharged the pepper spray in an April incident, court documents said.
The criminal complaint said the boy immediately began to cough, sneeze and suffer from runny eyes and nose, and was aware he had been pepper-sprayed because, police said, Boatwright had pepper-sprayed him in the past.
Court papers said Boatwright denied the charge, saying he actually sprayed two cats on an enclosed porch.
Boatwright, a police officer since 1989 and assigned to the New Stanton, Pa., barracks, was placed on leave without pay after he was charged with endangering the welfare of children and harassment, WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh, reported Tuesday.