Crime

Horry County Council candidate unsure how to proceed following charge of hitting 11-year-old

A Little River man, who is running for the Horry County Council District 9 seat, is weighing his options whether to proceed with the campaign following his arrest Wednesday on a charge he assaulted an 11-year-old boy after the child received a bad grade on a quiz.

Patrick Lee Boulter, 51, was jailed at 2:08 a.m. Wednesday on a charge of unlawful neglect of a child and is being held pending a bond hearing, according to records at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.

Boulter is a Republican petition candidate set to face County Council incumbent Paul Prince in the Nov. 6 election.

“Yeah, it probably cost me the election,” Boulter said Wednesday night. “Maybe that wasn’t meant to be anyway.”

Boulter added his gut instinct was to call Prince and concede the race. Now, he’s unsure what the next step is.

“Everybody’s telling me to sleep on it,” Boulter said.

According to the police, the charge stemmed from Monday when a 43-year-old woman took the 11-year-old boy to the police department to report the incident. The boy told officers that he argued with Boulter about a bad grade he received on a quiz and when they arrived at home Boulter asked the boy if he wanted to fight.

The boy told police he thought Boulter was playing, but Boulter forced him to the ground, held him down and hit him in the stomach, according to the report. The boy said he was upset when Boulter released him and the boy went outside for a few minutes.

The boy said when he returned inside the house, he jumped on Boulter’s back and caused Boulter’s glasses to cut his nose, according to the report. The boy said Boulter got upset, threw him to the floor and hit him in the head and face.

Boulter said the incident has been blown out of proportion, and it was a case of him disciplining a child who was testing the waters.

As to holding the boy to the ground, Boulter said the 11-year-old was kicking at him, and he used him arm to try and force him to stop kicking. At no point did he hit the boy in the stomach, Boulter added.

The boy had visible bruising, swelling and cuts to his forehead, left eye, cheek, bottom lip and shin, according to the report. The woman told police that Boulter called her and said he argued with the boy and then “put him in line.”

Boulter said the boy hit him good in the nose, which caused him to slap the child with his open hand. That slap did cause bruising, he added.

“I didn’t do it in rage,” Boulter said.

The woman said when she arrived home and saw the boy’s face she brought him to the police department to report the incident. The woman and boy were fearful about returning to the home, so police escorted them and officers spoke to Boulter there.

Boulter said he’s talked to others who say they’ve had similar disciplinary incidents with children, but his case has taken the spotlight because of his political campaign.

Boulter said he has a great relationship with the boy, and the child later apologized for his behavior.

As for the slap, Boulter wishes he could take it back.

“That part of me was wrong,” he said.

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