LITTLE ROCK (CN) – A daycare worker who made children choose the instrument with which he would beat them in a “punishment room” left a 4-year-old’s butt looking like “hamburger meat,” a mother claims in court.
Jane Doe claims the daycare worker inflicted “horrifying and appalling injuries” on her son because he had stuck his tongue out and chased a classmate on the playground.
She sued Anderson’s Taekwondo Center Camp Positive, its owner Richard E. Anderson, and the employee, Bobby Sykes Jr., in Pulaski County Court.
Sykes, 35, of Little Rock, was arrested June 1 on second-degree child battery charges, according to the complaint.
Doe claims Arkansas State Police and the Department of Human Services cited the nonprofit martial arts school with a long list of violations, including failing to report child abuse and permitting physical punishment of a child.
The mother says she discovered the abuse while bathing her child and seeing “severe black, blue, purple, and red colored bruising, blistering, and acute rupturing of blood vessels on or about the body, more specifically the buttocks.”
When she asked him “about the horrifying and appalling injuries of bruising, whelping and blistering,” she says, he told her “that an adult male daycare employee and instructor at Anderson’s Taekwondo, ‘Mr. Sykes,’ gave him ‘ice cream and cake’ in the upstairs ‘punishment room.'”
Doe says Sykes used “ice cream and cake” to refer to the beatings he gave children.
“(U)pon further inquiry regarding the term ‘ice cream and cake,’ plaintiff subsequently learned that her child was severely beaten and assaulted by Sykes in an upstairs ‘punishment room,’ where numerous children were forced by their assailant to select the implement to be used to administer their beating,” according to the complaint.
Doe says her child had to choose which paddle Sykes would use to beat him, on Nov. 17, 2014. He chose “a red paddle with black tape,” and “Sykes then proceeded to brutally and ferociously beat the child repeatedly on the buttocks and legs” with it, “resulting in severe injury characterized by the Arkansas State Police-Crimes Against Children Division maltreatment investigation as looking like ‘hamburger meat,'” the complaint states.
Doe says she sent a text message and photo of her child’s injuries that day to Anderson, who tried to cover up the beatings. She says the center receives federal and state funding as a licensed Child Care and Early Childhood Education Program Facility.
Doe says she also filed two criminal reports that day with Little Rock police, which failed to investigate the center or Sykes until she complained again on May 13 this year that the beatings continued.
The martial arts center and Anderson did not reply to requests for comment Monday.
Jordan Johnson, a spokesman for the American Taekwondo Association, said in a statement that Anderson’s Taekwondo Center has been suspended from “any further participation with ATA.” The center was sponsored and endorsed by the ATA, according to the lawsuit.
“ATA International Inc. takes this allegation very seriously and does not condone any form of corporal punishment as part of the ATA curriculum,” Johnson said. “ATA holds all of its worldwide licensees to the highest of standards and has a zero tolerance policy for this type of behavior.”
Doe claims that it is standard operating procedure for Anderson’s to “repeatedly utilize physical force and beatings to discipline children for minor ‘childhood’ infractions at school, and/or while attending and participating in their after school daycare program.”
She seeks punitive damages for negligence, outrage and pain and suffering.
She is represented by Harold Cook of Little Rock.
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