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Ninjas have been popular for a while now. Perhaps it's the mystery or the mystique. But one thing ninjas do not want to be known for: endangering the welfare of children.
Ross Hurst, 28, of Scottdale, Pennsylvania was spotted by police in all-black clothing walking at 1:23 a.m. March 3. He told police he was jogging, MSNBC reports.
Patrolman Joseph Lane noticed dried mud on the ninja dad's knee. When Lane asked Hurst about the mud, he first said he had fallen, then said he had knelt in a field. Finally came the truth: he was acting out a fantasy of being a ninja. Now obviously that in and of itself isn't illegal. But Hurst had a 4-year-old son at home alone while he was playing ninja, police say.
Hurst said that his mother was watching his son, but the boy's grandmother said Hurst never asked her to babysit. "I asked him why he was playing by himself, to which he replied that there are not a lot of people who want to play ninja," Lane stated in an affidavit, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. "I advised him that it looked to me that he was doing something else. Hurst stated that he was not doing anything wrong and was going home."
It sounds like the ninja dad may be going through some mental issues. He is accused in a separate incident of intimidating a witness, two counts of terroristic threats and two counts of harassment with lewd and threatening language. Witness intimidation is a charge applicable to anyone who "knowingly and maliciously attempts to prevent or dissuade any witness or victim from attending or giving testimony at any trial" commits a public offense punishable by up to a year in county jail or state prison.
Hurst allegedly called a witness in a criminal case and said: "You know that skin around your neck? ... I hope you cherish it, because it's gonna get cut." According to the witness' wife, Ross Hurst called her husband a snitch and threatened to kill the entire family.
Here's hoping that Ross Hurst and his son both get the help they need.