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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Spc. Milton J. “Joe” Barratta III was reduced to the rank of E-1 Thursday after pleading guilty to making a false official statement to investigators.

Also in the Thursday court-martial, a panel of three officers and two enlisted soldiers acquitted Barratta of aggravated assault for allegedly pouring scalding water on his 15-month-old stepson last June. Capt. Mark Vetter, an attorney for Barratta, argued that Barratta did not intend to get the scalding water on the toddler. The child bit Barratta in the back of the leg on June 21, 2006, as Barratta was holding a pot of near-boiling water. As Barratta bent to attend to his stepson, the water accidentally spilled out of the pot and burned the child, according to Barratta’s testimony. The toddler suffered first- and second-degree burns to his lips and face.

However, Barratta signed a statement in front of a Criminal Investigation Command investigator on June 22, 2006, that said he poured boiling water on the child’s lips.

Barratta initially told an investigator that his stepson must have burned his lips and face on an iron. For making the false statement, Barratta pleaded guilty earlier this week.


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