Deputies rescue spanked boy from allegedly abusive parent
Union — A Union man arrested for allegedly beating his 4-year-old stepson last week has been released on bail on condition that he have no contact with the child.
Christopher Cunningham, 25, appeared in 6th District Court in Rockland on June 18 to face charges of aggravated assault, domestic violence assault and causing bodily harm to a child less than 6 years old.
According to the affidavit at the court, a woman who identified herself as the boy’s mother called the Knox County Sheriff’s Office with a complaint that her son had bruises on his arms. A registered nurse, the mother reportedly said the bruises were the result of multiple attacks on both arms.
When the deputies arrived at about 3:50 p.m., they found the boy wandering around in his grandmother’s yard. The victim told Deputy John Palmer that he had been “spanked.”
Detective Dwight Burtis of the sheriff’s office said he asked the boy whether he hurt anywhere and the boy nodded yes. When Burtis asked the boy where he hurt, he put his hand on his left buttocks and made a spanking motion, according to the affidavit.
Burtis said that when the boy pulled his pants down, there were severe bruises on both buttocks. There were bruises on his back, as well.
When Burtis went to see Cunningham, who lived in the same building, the stepfather said the boy was 4 years old and often “gets bumped in normal activities.” Cunningham then admitted to spanking the boy, who was taken to Pen Bay Medical Center for an investigation. At the hospital, Burtis took photos of the bruised areas while doctors and nurses examined the boy, according to the affidavit.
Burtis arrested Cunningham and took him to Knox County Jail.
When Burtis told the mother that he had arrested Cunningham, she told the detective that the boy had been troublesome the night before and would not go to sleep. She said the boy had waked his baby brother. Her husband became angry and spanked the boy hard, according to the affidavit.
Burtis called the Department of Health and Human Services. The DHHS representative who saw the bruises said the most prevalent bruising was on the boy’s buttocks. The agency would not allow the boy to be with his mother unsupervised, pending an investigation, the affidavit said.
Cunningham was released on $5,000 bail on condition that he not have contact with the boy and that he may go just once to his home to get his personal things. Also, Cunningham is to notify the court within 24 hours of moving to his new address.
He has a court date on Aug. 29.
Courier Publications reporter George Chappell can be reached at 207-594-4401, ext. 117, or email@example.com.