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Bradford Man Pleads Not Guilty

45-Year-Old Charged In Assaulting Youth

Chelsea — A 45-year-old Bradford, Vt., man pleaded not guilty to allegedly punching a 12-year-old boy in the face and attempting to strangle him.

Dale Downing was arraigned Monday in Orange Superior Court on a felony charge of first degree aggravated domestic assault. If he is convicted, he could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.

The incident is alleged to have occurred around 7 p.m. on Nov. 21 at the child’s home, according to a police affidavit. The next morning, the child was taken to school, where he spoke to his teacher and the school nurse and was interviewed by a Department for Children and Families worker.

The victim told state police that the incident began when he was playing video games at home and his little brother entered the room. The boy told police that he yelled at his brother several times to leave.

Hearing a commotion, Downing came into the room and began to yell at the victim before tightly grabbing his forearm, according to a police affidavit.

Downing then allegedly grabbed the victim by the face and squeezed. The boy described the pain to police as a “seven” on a scale of one to 10, according to the affidavit. Downing allegedly spun the victim, causing him to fall onto his bed.

Downing then knelled on top of the boy over his mid-torso, according to the police affidavit, and then allegedly struck him on the left and right side of the head near his ear using a closed fist.

The victim said he “blacked out” while Downing allegedly had his hands around his neck, and when the victim regained consciousness, Downing was still on top of him, according to the police report.

Downing then got off of the boy, but allegedly approached him again, according to the police report. The victim told police that he then picked up an “object” and threatened Downing with it, and Downing left the room.

Later that night, the boy’s sister called another adult and asked if the victim could stay at the adult’s house. Once the victim arrived at the adult’s residence, he confided about the alleged beating and they took photographs of his injuries.

The woman called the state police the next morning and reported that the boy showed up at her house with a swollen face and marks on his neck.

The woman told police that she hadn’t contacted law enforcement the preceding night because the victim didn’t want her to. The next morning she drove the boy to school, at which point his teacher and officials became involved.

The affidavit said there were small red marks around the victim’s right eye and neck that appeared to be burst blood vessels.

The boy told police that Downing drinks heavily “nearly every day,” according to the police report, and that the incident was the third time that Downing has become violent toward him. The victim alleged that Downing had previously punched him in the face during the summer.

When police interviewed Downing, he said that the victim had been loud and was hitting the walls with a large stick when his little brother entered the room, according to the police report. Downing told police that he tried to take the stick away from the older brother by locking his hand behind his back and then kneeling into the victim’s back to take the stick away.

Downing denied striking or strangling the boy, according to the police report. Downing told police that he had consumed six 24 ounce beers and said he was “buzzed.” Downing also told police that he was defending himself when dealing with the boy.

Downing could not be reached for comment.

Judge Robert Gerety did not set a bail amount, and Downing was released with conditions that he not drink alcohol and cannot have contact or harass the victim.

If Downing does not abide by the conditions, he could be arrested without a warrant.

Sarah Brubeck can be reached at sbrubeck@vnews.com or 603-727-3223.