WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Two parents have been arrested for allegedly abusing their 8-year-old child repeatedly, leaving him severely bruised.
West Valley City Police says the suspects are a 30-year-old father and a 29-year-old mother. The victim is an 8-year-old boy.
Officials with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services were alerted to a child abuse case on May 20. The report on the boy mentioned “large bruises and what appeared to be a burn on the child’s arm that went from his wrist to his elbow.”
The report said the boy mentioned, “both parents had hit him with a belt and paddle, causing the injuries.”
When police arrived at the child’s school, the boy was transported to the Children’s Justice Center where he was interviewed by a certified child forensic interviewer.
During the interview, the boy mentioned being hit by his mother with a stick and paddle, while his father hits him with a belt. He mentioned receiving poor behavioral grades in school. He told authorities the wooden paddle was used to hit him only when “he got in trouble.” He pointed out a “large contusion on his right arm with an outline of circles in the bruise consistent with the child’s description of the belt.”
The victim mentioned several other bruises on his body including on his arms, legs, back, stomach and shoulder areas. Police described the bruises as “significant and severe.”
Officials transported the boy to a children’s hospital for a medical evaluation. While contacting the victim’s mother, she initially told authorities the boy’s bruises were caused by falling at a playground.
She later admitted to striking the victim with a paddle, causing marks on his body while acknowledging her husband had struck the child with a belt.
“During the medical exam, several severe bruises had been discovered throughout the child’s body,” according to arrest reports. The doctor evaluating the victim “noted that the totality of his injuries are indicative of physical abuse due to excessive corporal punishment.”
When interviewing the victim’s father, he mentioned the boy had not been “listening to him” while behaving poorly at school. He told police he became upset and grabbed a belt he was wearing at the time and began striking the child around 4-5 times. For the same reasons, the mother admitted to striking the boy 7-8 times with a wooden paddle.
The father told police “he knew what he did was not right and said after he hit his kid with the belt, he went outside and cried.”
He also told police his wife was “concerned with the bruises and did not want to take the child to school in fear that someone would see them and report it.”
Both parents have been arrested on one charge of aggravated child abuse and are currently booked at the Salt Lake County Jail.
“A search warrant for the residence is currently being written to obtain the belt and paddle used to hit the child,” police say.
If you suspect child abuse or neglect contact the DCFS 24/7 hotline: 855-323-3237. For more information, visit dcfs.utah.gov.