BERWICK (AP) – A father of four says it was a mistake to leave two of his children alone in the cold outside their grandfather’s Rochester, N.H., house, but it wasn’t intentional neglect.

Troid Patch, 26, of Berwick, faces two misdemeanor counts of child endangerment after dropping two of his children off last Friday at the house. No one was home, and the 6-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl spent some time outside before a neighbor heard their cries and took them in.

Patch said the lights were on at the house and his father-in-law’s truck was parked in the driveway, so he assumed someone was there. He said he waited a minute and the children didn’t come back, so he left.

In retrospect, Patch said, he should have walked the children to the door.

Melissa Patch is standing by her husband. She said Patch is a good father and she believes he made an honest mistake.

“He’s a great father and he’s been depressed and stressed ever since,” she said.

The children, who were bundled in coats, hats, gloves, scarves and boots, are fine.

The two charges are punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Patch, who works for a construction company, said he plans to hire a lawyer to represent him.

“I’m the sole supporter of this family and if I go to jail who will support them?” he said.

Information from: Foster’s Daily Democrat,

AP-ES-01-30-07 1319EST