US police officer arrested for allegedly pepper-spraying his girlfriend's son

State trooper Ernest Boatright is accused of child endangerment and harassment

A US law enforcement officer faces criminal charges for allegedly pepper-spraying his girlfriend’s 13-year-old son because the boy stayed in bed instead of going to school.

WRAE-TV reports that Pennsylvania state trooper Ernest Boatright faces a preliminary hearing on 22 January, on child endangerment and harassment charges.

According to court records, Boatright found the teen still in bed when he was supposed to be in school, so he discharged his pepper spray in to the bedroom, it has been claimed.

Boatright told investigators that he had pepper-sprayed two cats on an enclosed porch, but it is alleged that the boy told police Boatright sprayed the chemical into his room in April. The boy also reportedly told police that it was not the first time the man had pepper-sprayed him.

His attorney, Matthew Zatko, said Boatright “vehemently denies the charges that have been filed against him. He is very much looking forward to the opportunity to defend himself and clear his name".

WRAE-TV reports that officials at the Pennsylvania State Police said that Boatright has been a trooper since 1989. He is assigned to the New Stanton barracks but has been placed on leave without pay, since he was charged with endangering the welfare of children and harassment.