Man charged with child endangerment, serious assault

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


A Washington man faces a felony charge of child endangerment and well as a serious misdemeanor charge of serious assault causing bodily injury after allegedly head-butting his 2-year-old son.

According to court records, Zachary Lee Fritsch, 21, of Washington, remains in the Des Moines County Jail in lieu of $6,000 bond. If convicted, he could spend up to six years in jail. Fritsch had turned himself in to the jail on Feb. 12 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 23. The Des Moines County Public Defenders office is representing him.

According to documents, the charges stem from an incident that occurred Jan. 1 in West Des Moines. The 2-year-old was treated at Great River Medical Center in West Burlington for an injury to his forehead and released to his mother. West Burlington police officers became involved when medical center employees had requested police in reference to a possible child abuse victim in the emergency room. Officers learned two women had brought the child into the emergency room for treatment. In speaking with the child?s mother, officers learned Fritsch had allegedly head-butted the child for playing with a bottle and pacifier that did not belong to him.

The woman who had accompanied the mother and the child to the medical center had witnessed the incident.

The mother told officers that the head-butt was Fritsch?s form of disciplining the child. The other woman stated she had seen Fritsch yell for the child to come to him. Fritsch then allegedly grabbed the child by the shoulders and made the child look at him face to face, then head-butted him.

She said that Fritsch had said to her that he had to discipline the child because the child had done something wrong.

Fritsch, the toddler who was identified as his son, and the toddler?s mother had been visiting a residence in West Burlington when the incident allegedly occurred.

The mother told police she was not in a relationship with Fritsch and that she had custody of the child.

Officers submitted additional information on the incident to the Iowa Department of Human Services.