Butler Councilman Will Contest Child Endangerment Indictment
Sean McNear pointed loaded BB gun at five-year-old's face, authorities claim.
Butler Councilman Sean McNear was indicted on child endangerment charges Thursday after authorities said he pointed a loaded BB gun at and threatened to shoot his five-year-old son.
McNear was officially indicted on charges of one count of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child; one count of second-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose; and one count of fourth-degree aggravated assault, according to a release prepared by Acting Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and Butler Police Chief Ed Card.
McNear, 45, was arrested in November 2011 after an affidavit claimed the boy told authorities McNear had pointed the gun in his face in his bedroom two years prior and in 2011, choked and punched him in the face with a closed fist. The affidavit stated that the boy told officials McNear had hit him before. According to the release, the boy's initial complaint made in 2011 was to a teacher.
An investigation was prompted after a witness reported to the Butler Police Department on Nov. 18 that the boy was being physically abused by McNear.
McNear was sworn in to his seat on the council less than two months later. Borough Attorney Robert Oostdyk said then that even if convicted, council members are only required to forfeit their seats if found guilty of a specific set of crimes.
McNear's attorney, Peter Gilbreth of Morristown, said he will be contesting the indictment.
"It took over two years for the family to come forward to make these allegations after they allegedly happened," he said. "That's one of the issues which we plan to present to the jury."
Gilbreth said it could be weeks before McNear appears in court for a formal arraignment.
Knapp thanked Card and the Butler Police Department, as well as the Morris County Prosecutor's Office Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit for assisting with the investigation.