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Montana man convicted of beating, rubbing hot sauce in kids eyes

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — A Montana man has been convicted of two counts of assault on a minor for beating his girlfriend’s sons with a belt and rubbing hot sauce in their eyes as a form of discipline.

The children testified against Robert Mathew Holguin Jr. of Great Falls Tuesday. Jurors found him guilty Wednesday.

Holguin was taken into custody. His sentencing is set for Jan. 7.

Defense attorney Victor Bunitsky argued the boys’ mother, Mandy Marie McElwain, gave Holguin permission to discipline the children and witnessed the punishment.

Child welfare workers placed the boys — then 5 and 8 — in foster care in 2016.

McElwain pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment in November 2017 and was given a two-year deferred sentence. She testified she did not agree with the hot sauce discipline but was afraid to try to intervene.

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