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A Necedah man a faces a physical abuse charge after allegedly abusing a 7-year-old child.

Philip K. Schroeder, 40, was charged with the child abuse offense on Feb. 19. The case was filed by the Juneau County Clerk of Circuit Court April 6. If convicted, Schroeder could face a $10,000 fine or three years and six months in prison, or both.

According to a criminal complaint:

A deputy from Juneau County was called to the Necedah Area School to help the county human services department with a possible child abuse complaint.

A nurse at the school observed a student with redness and bruising to her neck the morning of Feb. 20. The nurse removed makeup concealing the marks and applied a cold pack to her neck. The child didn’t complain of any injuries.

Based on the report, Schroeder became upset with the child being in his room, grabbed her neck with one hand and used another across her bottom to carry her back to her bed. She said when Schroeder grabbed her neck he squeezed it hard with her thumb pressed against it. The alleged victim said Schroeder told her to go back to bed but didn’t think he was trying to hurt her in any way.

The next morning makeup from a family member was applied to cover up the injury. The relative told the girl to tell people she was injured when she struck a tree and feel off a four-wheeler over the weekend.

A deputy from the sheriff’s officer noted the red marks on her neck, took photos, and determined they could have been inflicted by a man’s hand. Later in the day, the deputy and human services worker went to the apartment the girl lived in and observed no concerns for her welfare.

The child’s mother was interviewed and said she took a sleeping pill the night before. Sleeping hard, she said she didn’t know what happened between Schroeder and the child. The next morning the child told her mother about how Schroeder carried her back to her bedroom. The mother stated she wanted to cover up the marks because she was afraid her child would be taken away by authorities for child abuse. She told authorities Schroeder would be coming home from work that afternoon and would not be allowed in the house.

The human services worker said she would complete a short-term child safety plan and make follow-up visits to the apartment to ensure the child’s safety.

Upon being interviewed, Schroeder said the child came into the room around midnight and he kicked her out of bed because he had to get up at 5 a.m. for work. But, he maintained he didn’t grab her by the neck and carry her to her room. After telling her to get back to her own bed, he pulled the covers off the child. He claimed she was holding them tight against her neck when he pulled and it may have led to her red marks. Schroeder said he did not leave the bed at any time.

Schroeder has an initial appearance schedule on May 3 at 9 a.m. at the Juneau County Justice Center.

Contact Kevin Damask at 608-963-7323 or on Twitter @kdamask

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