A 57-year-old Butte man accused of grabbing a teenage girl by the hair and punching her face repeatedly pleaded not guilty to felony assault on a minor Thursday.
Witnesses told police that James Edward Steines was arguing with the girl outside of a house on Nevada Street on Sept. 15 when the assault took place.
One described Steines having the girl’s “hair wrapped around his hand holding her head back and striking her in the face.” One man yelled at Steines to stop but he kept hitting the girl until the man pulled him off, prosecutors say.
Steines told police that during an argument over groceries, the girl grabbed him by the neck so he struck her with his fist about three times. The girl had bruising and swelling in her face and a split lip, police say.
He asked Officer Brian Berger if it was OK for the girl to hit him without him hitting back. Berger then asked Steines how old he was and he said 57.
“Officer Berger responded that being struck by someone who is (young) and someone who is 57 are two different things,” according to charging documents.
Steines was arrested and had been jailed with bail set at $10,000 until Thursday’s arraignment before District Judge Kurt Krueger. Prosecutors have agreed to release him on his own recognizance if he abides by pretrial services and has no contact with the girl.