A Casper man who allegedly choked a girl pleaded not guilty to one count of child abuse during his arraignment in Natrona County District Court on Friday.

Donald Allen Jakobiak, who was 49 when arrested in December, spoke quietly during the brief hearing before District Court Judge Daniel Forgey, who will set his case for trial at a later date.

He remains free on bond.

The case began on Dec. 17 when Casper police responded to Buckboard Road about a report of a family fight, according to court documents.

A woman called to say her ex-husband, Jakobiak, was "choking" her children after drinking all night, adding he asked the children to lie about what happened.

The children's mother reportedly said the children sometimes stay with Jakobiak. His drinking was the reason she and Jakobiak had divorced.

Police arrived to find two children in the house with their mother and Jakobiak. A girl was wrapped up in a blanket, crying. She was holding her throat area and had a large red "U" shape on her neck. The children denied medical treatment, according to court records.

Jakobiak, obviously intoxicated, reportedly could not utter anything intelligible, other than to say his wife was an "idiot."

According to the police affidavit, the mother and Jakobiak started to argue. He began to walk away. As he passed the dining table, he fell and landed on the floor. When she tried to help him up, Jakobiak allegedly grabbed her wrist and would not let go.

The girl tried to get Jakobiak to let go of her mother, but he allegedly grabbed the girl by the neck and threw her to the ground.

The mother then started yelling at Jakobiak for throwing the child. Jakobiak got into his ex-wife's face, and the girl put herself in between the two of them.

Jakobiak then allegedly grabbed the girl by the neck again and pushed her against a wall, holding her up off the ground. The mother called 911.

The girl corroborated her mother's version of events. She told police that she "blacked out for a minute" and didn't remember what happened for about 20 seconds. She did recall having trouble breathing while Jakobiak's hands were around her neck.

The mother later took the girl who had been strangled to the emergency room in Douglas.