A Troy man has been charged with aggravated assault after allegedly strangling a 12-year-old, police said.

Paul Hustus, 22, is accused of placing the boy in a choke-hold for several minutes and strangling him to the point that he almost lost consciousness, according to a news release from the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.

Sgt. Nicholas Oettinger and Deputy Kyle Wasiela responded to the call around 5:15 p.m. Wednesday at a residence on Bishop Road in Troy, according to the release. Sheriff Jeffrey Trafton said the boy’s mother reported the incident to police.

Witnesses described the boy as being in obvious distress during the incident, according to the release.

Hustus told police he was “just horsing around” and didn’t think he had squeezed the boy that hard, Trafton said. But when Oettinger and Wasiela arrived, they found the boy had marks on his neck and ruptured blood vessels, according to Trafton.

Hustus was taken to the Waldo County Correctional Facility in Belfast and was released later on $1,500 cash bail, the sheriff’s office said.

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