By Jacob Mathias
A Bancroft man has been charged with felony child abuse after reportedly slapping his girlfriend’s daughter in the face following an argument.
Lewis Nigh, 35, was arrested on Aug. 14, 2015 after a caller reported witnessing Nigh slap a 15-year-old girl in the face multiple times. Nigh had since fled the home for a nearby residence, according to the caller.
When deputies arrived, they observed the girl holding an ice pack to her face, which was red and puffy, according to the complaint.
The girl told deputies she returned home with friends earlier that night, according to the complaint, and was confronted by Nigh about having gone out. The girl reportedly told Nigh to “calm down and back off”, after which the confrontation escalated and Nigh allegedly struck the girl three times, knocking the glasses off her face.
Deputies then knocked on the door of one of Nigh’s relatives who lived nearby, suspecting he may have fled there. The relative initially denied Nigh was in the home, but when officers searched they found Nigh sitting on the toilet and smelling of alcohol.
When questioned, Nigh admitted to drinking “eight or nine beers” that evening.
According to the complaint, he also corroborated much of the girl’s story, saying he must have hit her “pretty hard” because his left hand was stinging. He said he was upset with her because she had left earlier that evening with a 19-year-old man, which he didn’t feel was appropriate.
“I don’t know what happened, if I thought I was slapping [her mother], or what, but I slapped her in the face,” he reportedly told deputies. “I’m an idiot.”
Nigh made his initial appearance in Portage Co. Circuit Court on Aug. 22. He faces a maximum penalty of up to a $10,000 fine, six years imprisonment or both if convicted.
Nigh is currently free on a $2,500 signature bond and is to have no contact with the victim or her residence. He returns to court on Sept. 12 at 3:00 PM for a preliminary hearing.