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A West Salem man was charged Wednesday with child abuse after a teenage relative was assaulted over money for cigarettes.

Todd Smith, 43, of 126 Franklin St. W., who was also charged with strangulation and suffocation and disorderly conduct, left the boy hurt and bleeding after a Dec. 19 altercation, which occurred after Smith asked to borrow money for cigarettes.

After the pair began arguing over money Smith owed the victim, Smith picked up the teen and body-slammed him to the floor, according to the complaint.

They exchanged punches and Smith placed the victim in a choke hold, which left the victim unable to breathe and “hearing bells ringing,” according to the complaint. The victim broke free and passed out, at which point Smith began punching him in his left side.

The victim, who was bleeding from a scrape to his left side and another under his chin, told police his pain was a six or seven on a scale of 10 and he feared for his life, according to the complaint.

Smith told officers the victim punched him in the head and side, and he climbed on top of the victim to stop him from hitting.

Located after fleeing the home, Smith stated “he did not contact law enforcement because he thought he was the victim and didn’t want to get (the victim) in trouble,” according to the complaint.

In total, potential charges could amount to not more than $21,000 and imprisonment of not more than 12 years and 3 months, or both.

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Emily Pyrek can be reached at


General assignment reporter

Emily Pyrek covers human interest stories, local events and anything involving dogs for the La Crosse Tribune. She is always interested in story ideas and can be contacted at

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