Boy Beaten With Belt, Parents Charged
SOURCE:, June 8, 2011

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Johns County husband and wife were charged after a 9-year-old boy was beaten with a belt when the boy got home from after getting in trouble at school.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photos of Horace Crooms Sr. and Susan Crooms
According to the arrest report, the student at Ketterlinus Elementary had to be restrained after an outburst at the end of the school day on May 23, then missed the bus and had to be picked up.

According to a Florida Department of Families and Children investigator, the boy was beaten so badly that he was kept home from school the next day and told to keep his shirt sleeves down the day he returned to school so people would not see the bruising.

The report says the DCF investigator and school resource officer saw bruising on the boy's left arm and left leg. A subsequent examination by a physician found the victim also had a black eye and bruise on his forehead. That doctor wrote, "This far exceeds the limits of appropriate corporal punishment."

Horace Crooms Sr., 60, was charged with aggravated battery on a child, a third-degree felony. Susan Crooms, 49, was charged with child neglect.

The mother told investigators she did not see the beating, but heard the altercation and heard the boy crying for about 15 minutes. She said she also heard her husband yell, "I told you, don't act up. I told you this would happen if you act up."

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