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Child Beaten for Not Doing Homework; Mother and Stepfather Arrested


LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) – A mother and stepfather are behind bars, accused of violently whipping their 6-year-old boy with a belt.

Investigators say a first-grader at Symmes Valley Elementary went to a school nurse Wednesday complaining of back pain.

The nurse said three-fourths of his back was covered with bruises.

Deputies say the stepfather and mother, Travis and Jessica Neal, admitted they struck his back and sides of his body repeatedly with a belt at their home along County Road 62 in Mason Township the night before.

The mother and stepfather told deputies it started because they were getting frustrated the boy was not focusing on his homework.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother told deputies "he was reading a story and could not get the words right."

The complaint says the mother told deputies "she didn't report the bruising to anyone or take him to seek medical help because she was scared that they would get in trouble."

The boy told investigators this only happened one other time when he was 4 years old.

The Neals were arraigned Friday. They are both charged with child endangerment. They're being held in the Lawrence County Jail, both with a $15,000 bond.

The 6-year old is now staying with a relative.

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