MISSOULA, Mont. - Missoula police say an 11-year-old boy turned up drunk on the courthouse lawn, from the Occupy Missoula encampment early Thursday morning. That's the group protesting corporate greed.
Police say one of the camp's occupants bought the youngster alcohol. Twenty-seven year old John Skinner was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
The police report said Skinner encountered the boy and a friend outside a downtown Missoula bar. Police say the friend asked Skinner to buy them alcohol.
They say Skinner invited the boy and his friend into his tent so he could "keep an eye on him." But they said Skinner didn't call 911 or emergency medical technicians.
Police said the boy had permission to be out late at night. But they found the boy unconscious and vomiting on the courthouse lawn.
Occupy organizers said Skinner arrived at the camp Wednesday and had been drinking. The group has a zero tolerance for drinking alcohol on site. "He assured us that he wasn't, that he had been drinking elsewhere," said camp facilitator Kathleen Kelly.
She said the group gave him a chance to sleep it off in a tent.
Kelly said Occupy Missoula is taking this development very seriously.
Skinner, appearing via video camera at municipal court said he is mentally ill. A woman in the audience held up a bag and said she had the man's medication.
Skinner pleaded not guilty to the charge. Bond was set at $2,000.
The 11-year-old boy appeared in court with his mother and pleaded guilty to underage drinking.
Acting municipal court judge Douglas Harkin said the boy looked young, but he was "astounded" to learn how young. The judge wants a report filed with the Department of Family Services. Harkin said, "this case needs to be investigated."
Occupy Missoula continues to draw supporters and donations. It has a policy that minors may not be in camp without a parent or guardian. The group said the latest development puts the camp's future in jeopardy.