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Police say man who whipped Decatur girl with belt is now jailed

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DECATUR — Police said the Decatur man who used lashes from a belt to discipline a young girl — after the same child had been beaten with a kitchen spatula by her mother — was arrested and jailed Monday.

The 29-year-old man was booked on preliminary charges of aggravated battery to a child and committing domestic battery while having a previous domestic battery conviction.

The alleged attack on the 12-year-old girl dates from an investigation Feb. 4 when the girl’s mother, 38, was arrested on the same charges. Police were called to the child’s home on Western Avenue to assist a Department of Children and Family Services investigator who had become concerned about bruising injuries on the child.

A sworn affidavit from Macon County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Anello said an emergency room doctor later confirmed that bruising on the girl’s buttocks and thigh was consistent with being struck by a spatula and whipped with a belt. Police had been searching for the man, who is the child’s uncle, after they had arrested the mother; she has since been released on bail of $2,000 after posting a $200 bond.

Anello said the mother told police she acted to discipline her daughter after the child had struck a 10-year-old child with a shoe and used a knife to menace a 6-year-old child who was also present. The mother said she had restrained her daughter and taken the knife away before punishing her with blows from the spatula.

The mother was quoted as saying she had not struck her daughter “very hard.” When the man, who is also the father of the 6-year-old, had arrived later, she told him what the 12-year-old had done and gave him permission to further “discipline” the child.

Anello said the man had then asked a male friend who was present if he could borrow his belt. “He struck (the mother’s) 12-year-old daughter three or four times with the belt on her thigh,” the deputy added.

A check of Macon County Jail records show the man remained in custody Tuesday with bail set at $50,000, meaning he must post a $5,000 bond to get out. All preliminary charges are subject to review by the state's attorney’s office.

Contact Tony Reid at (217) 421-7977. Follow him on Twitter: @TonyJReid


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