Orlando-area father arrested on 350 counts of sexual abuse
By Susan Jacobson, Sentinel Staff Writer, Orlando Sentinel, March 3, 2008

Including beatings with PVC pipe, belts and a paddle
Two children suffered years of abuse at the hands of their father, investigators said Sunday as they described a litany of horrors including sexual assault and stun-gun shocks on the daughter, as well as beatings with PVC pipe, belts and a paddle on both victims.

The ordeal, in which the brother and sister also reported being threatened with guns and forced to drink alcohol, ended during the weekend when they escaped from their Sandord -area home and contacted the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

The father, 37, was arrested on 350 counts of sexual battery by a custodian of a victim younger than 12. He also was charged with 10 counts of aggravated battery using a deadly weapon, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, child cruelty and child neglect. He is being held without bail at the Seminole County Jail.

The children's mother, 36, was arrested on a charge of child neglect and released from jail. Investigators say she let her husband abuse the children and twice allowed him to put guns to their heads and threaten to kill them.

"The children lived in constant fear and . . . [their mother] failed to protect them," a sheriff's report states.

Reached at home, the mother would not comment on the charges.

"It's still under investigation," she said. "There's nothing to say until the investigation is done."

Her daughter, 13, the girl's 14-year-old brother and another brother, 17, are in the custody of their aunt and uncle in Orange County, the aunt said. The Orlando Sentinel is not naming the family to protect the children's identities.

The charges outlined in the report involve only the younger children. The older brother has been living with his aunt and uncle.

The younger children were held virtual prisoners at home and were home-schooled, their aunt said. They now want to attend public school to be around other kids, she said. The girl, who was out of school for about a year, formerly was active in chorus and track and enjoyed learning.

On Friday, the 13- and 14-year-olds saw their opportunity for escape when their father was working out. They sneaked out the back door and contacted the Sheriff's Office.

The girl told deputies that her father had sexually abused her more than 350 times starting when she was 7 and ending Thursday. The findings of a sexual-assault examination "were consistent" with the girl's allegations, according to the sheriff's report.

She also said her father tied her to a bed, put socks over her hands and feet and in her mouth and shocked her with a Taser.

The child's aunt said the father insisted she wear oversized clothing to avoid revealing her body. The woman also alleged that he denied the children medical care.

Both younger children told investigators that they were beaten with a wooden paddle called, "The Be Good Paddle" as well as with belts and a pipe.

At least a year ago, the state Department of Children and Families got involved with the family and provided a caseworker for the older son, his aunt said. Details were not available late Sunday.

The aunt said she and her husband thought the father was controlling, but they had no idea the extent of what investigators say went on.

The children have scars, she said, but are safe for now. Mentally, it's another story.

"The kids have been through so much," the woman said.

Susan Jacobson can be reached at sjacobson@orlandosentinel.com or 386-851-7903. Copyright 2008, Orlando Sentinel


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