2 arrested in beating of autistic boy

LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ - Two people are in custody after police say a 12-year-old boy was allegedly repeatedly beaten by his stepfather.

According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, faculty at a west Valley middle school noticed the boy appeared to have signs of abuse by his parents.

The boy was described in the report as having "Asperger's autism."

When deputies and detectives examined the boy they determined he had extensive bruising "in excess to a reasonable person's understanding of acceptable discipline.

Authorities say that according to the victim he was routinely made to do calisthenics as a punishment while being questioned by his stepfather. If his answers were incorrect, he would be jerked up from a pushup position to a standing position and beaten repeatedly on his buttocks.

The youngster also told officials his mother and stepfather would scream at him for the "slightest violations of rules," for instance taking candy from a jar that was accessible to him.

Detectives described the bruising on the boy's buttock appeared to have older bruises with newer ones on top.

There was also a distinct zig zag pattern that reportedly corresponded with a spatula with a serrated edge found in the home.

Authorities said the stepfather admitted to spanking the boy on three occasions and using pushups as a punishment. 

The boy's mother told authorities she was aware of bruising on the victim's arm from being pulled up and said she had confronted her husband about the issue. She said she did not know of the bruising on his buttocks, however.

She admitted her husband and son "had a bad relationship" and when asked if she ever wanted the boy back from Child Protective Services she reportedly hesitated then said, "If I thought I could take care of him."

Officials stated they believed the abuse stemmed from the frustration at the boy's "neurological disorders" and that neither demonstrated an intention to learn about the disorders and better structure the boy's home life to accommodate them.

The boy's stepfather was booked into the Maricopa County Jail on one count of child abuse and endangerment. The child's mother was booked into jail on charges of child abuse, failure to report neglect of a minor and endangerment.

ABC15.com is not naming the boy or suspects to protect the identity of the victim.

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