Corpun file 24202 at www.corpun.com
The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, 9 January 2008
Paddling prompts charges
By Sandra K. Reabuck
Click to enlarge
A Johnstown man accused of using a modified wooden paddle
designed to inflict more pain in disciplining three young boys
has been charged by city police with child endangerment and
City juvenile Officer Julie Wagner said the paddle used by
Christopher Ellis had six holes drilled into it so air would not
cushion it "when used for spanking, (thereby) creating more
The boys -- ages 5, 7 and 8 -- were struck numerous times,
leaving their buttocks cut and bleeding, police said.
The imprint of the paddle and one its holes was visible a day
later on one of the boys when he was treated at Memorial Medical
Center's emergency room, Wagner said.
The alleged abuse came to light when the youngest boy had
difficulty sitting at school the day after the paddling. He
reportedly told his teacher that "he could not sit, that it
hurt too bad."
The charges were filed this week by Wagner before District Judge
Leonard Grecek of the Roxbury section of Johnstown.
Ellis, 31, of the 100 block of Sell Street, is being notified by
mail to appear Jan. 31 for a preliminary hearing before Grecek.
Grecek's office mailed the summons Wednesday.
The boys, who had been placed at the Ellis home by an
out-of-state agency for a pending adoption, have been removed
from the residence since the Dec. 17 incident, District Attorney
Patrick Kiniry said Wednesday.
Although parents have the right to discipline their children, the
discipline cannot cross into abuse, he said.
In these types of abuse, prosecutors would present medical
testimony about the physical harm to show that the discipline was
excessive under the circumstances, Kiniry said.
"The kind of cases we get involve severe lacerations,
bleeding, bruising and inflicting of severe pain. That kind of
discipline crosses the line, and that kind of discipline is
criminal," Kiniry said.
Wagner said one of the children told police that Ellis had
"laughed about how hard he could hit with (the paddle)
'cause the holes wouldn't let any air in."
According to an affidavit, Ellis used the paddle after learning
that the boys had behaved badly on their school bus.
He took the three into his bedroom and told them they would be
spanked, the officer said. The youngest boy was the first to be
disciplined and was told to pull down his pants, although his
underwear was left on.
The boy told police he had been "struck six times and that
he screamed. It was dripping down with blood, and my butt burns.
It hurt to sit down."
The 7-year-old then was paddled, and he told police he was unsure
how many times he was struck. He, too, told police that his
buttocks were bleeding and burning.
The oldest boy told police that he was paddled after he pulled
down his pants and bent over the bed.
"It hurt so bad that I just stopped counting. My butt was
cut, and there was bleeding. I couldn't lay on it. It felt worse
than it ever did," the boy told police.
Wagner said the boys told her the incident was not the first time
that Ellis had used the paddle.
She said none received treatment for their injuries on the day
they were paddled.
After the school nurse observed the youngest boy's injuries, the
other boys also were checked. All three then were taken to the
emergency room, Wagner said.
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