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Palmerton man waives his hearing, remains jailed on child abuse charge

Published June 06. 2013 05:04PM

A Palmerton man accused of child abuse will have his case bound over to Carbon County Court.

Robert Schafer, 34, was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing Wednesday before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.

Instead, Schafer waived his right to the hearing, and will appear on July 2, at 1:15 p.m. at the courthouse in Jim Thorpe.

Schafer faces charges of aggravated and simple assault, criminal attempt; and endangering the welfare of children.

He has been recommitted to county prison in lieu of $150,000, 10 percent bail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Palmerton Patrolman Shawn Leadbetter, here's what happened:

On May 19, Leadbetter was dispatched to a Palmerton residence at 11:09 a.m. by the Carbon Communications Center for a domestic disturbance.

Upon arrival at around 11:12 a.m., Leadbetter was met at the front door by a juvenile female, age 7, who was visibly upset.

Leadbetter said Schafer was present and there was a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from his facial area.

The victim of the alleged abuse had a red mark on the side of her face, it is alleged.

On the same day at around 3:45 p.m., Leadbetter received a phone call at the Palmerton Police Department from the mother, who stated that after taking her daughter to the hospital, she was told by the Emergency Room staff to contact the police, as they suspected child abuse.

Upon Leadbetter's arrival at the Palmerton Hospital Emergency Room, he spoke with Dr. Walter Bell, who advised that the injuries sustained to the juvenile are consistent with child abuse.

The juvenile was found to have multiple contusions to the head, face, chest and back, as well as left perforated tympanic membrane, which is also defined as a ruptured eardrum that was currently infected.

At 5 p.m. that day, the juvenile, along with her mother, arrived at the Palmerton Police Station for an interview with Leadbetter.

During the interview, the juvenile stated that on May 17, Schafer ripped her shirt off, and, using a closed fist, hit her on the left side of her face.

Schafer then started to squeeze her neck for several seconds, and then pushed her to the couch, at which time the juvenile was crying.

Schafer then grabbed the neck of the juvenile once again, and threatened and squeezed, this time for several minutes to the point where the juvenile couldn't breathe or talk.

Later that day, Schafer arrived at the Palmerton Police Department for an interview, at which time he admitted to pushing the juvenile to the point to calm down, but never forcefully hit her.

However, Schafer admitted to hitting the juvenile in the past on many occasions.

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