ROCHESTER, Minn. – A 24-year-old Rochester man has been charged for allegedly choking and slapping his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son in July.
Matthew Jonathan Marquette faces charges of domestic assault by strangulation and malicious punishment of a child under 4.
According to the criminal complaint, Rochester police were dispatched to Mayo Clinic Hospital around 3 a.m. July 31 for a child abuse report. The officer learned that a 3-year-old boy had red bruises, one of which resembled a hand print, on both sides of his face when he was brought to the emergency department.
His mother told investigators that on July 30, she left her 3-year-old son home with Marquette so she could go to a store. When she returned, her son was acting normally — but after taking him outside, she saw what appeared to be broken blood vessels near his eye. She took a photo and sent it to someone to ask what they thought of it.
As time went on, the mother said her son’s face became more swollen. She asked Marquette about it but he said nothing happened. Her son said he fell in her room but later told his grandmother that “Mattie hurt my cheek,” the complaint states.
When the woman who received the photo went to his house, the boy made a slapping gesture to his face and told her, “Matty’s mad,” according to the complaint.
An investigator and child protection worker later spoke with the boy, who said Marquette grabbed him and slapped his face while yelling. The child also said Marquette caused the marks on his cheeks and neck. Medical workers saw broken blood vessels on his face and neck that were consistent with sings of choking, along with bruising on his right cheek, consistent with a slap to the face.
Witnesses told an investigator that Marquette is known to use methamphetamine, but when the investigator went to Marquette’s home to speak with him, he refused. He called the hospital and told a nurse the marks on the boy’s face were from an infection or dirt when he fell down. He reportedly seemed distraught and slurred his words.
Marquette was summoned to appear in court on Dec. 5. If convicted of both felony counts, he faces up to eight years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine. Records show he was previously convicted of domestic assault by strangulation, fifth-degree assault and felony domestic assault.