A 39-year-old father was taken to jail last week after his 13-year-old sons came home with bad school grades and said they were whipped with a belt 20 to 40 times, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.
Their mother, who is divorced from the father, filed an injunction for their protection the next day saying the excessive punishment came after they got home from school Oct. 29 with “D’s” on their report cards.
Christopher Isaiah Nowell was charged with child abuse on Nov. 6 and released on bond Monday, jail records show. Both children said they were first told to shower and then report to their father naked, the arrest report said. One said he was spanked with a belt 40 times on his back, buttocks and hips, then shoved against a wall and hit in the face.
He “did not know if the suspect struck him with his fist or hand because he closed his eyes,” the arrest report said.
The other teen said he was spanked 20 times, leaving welts on his back and buttocks. Both were also put through a regimen of exercises that included squats and “six inch killers,” the report said.
The report said Nowell, listed as over 6 feet-tall and 270 pounds, lives in Fort Lauderdale but redacts where the two boys were when the reported incidents occurred. The injunction gives a Northwest Jacksonville address for the father. When their mother visited and told what occurred, they asked her not to report it or confront Nowell, saying they “feared further punishment,” the injunction said.
After hearing the boys’ description, she contacted the Sheriff’s Office and Department of Children and Families, who met at the boys’ school and photographed their injuries.
Nowell has no prior criminal history in Jacksonville, according to Duval County jail records.
Florida’s Department of Children and Families defines child abuse as “any willful act or threatened act that results in any physical, mental, or sexual injury or harm” and could or does causes the child’s health to be “significantly impaired.” Abuse should be reported to the state’s Florida Abuse Hotline at (800) 962-2873 or learn more at myflfamilies.com.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549