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Police: Dad Beat Toddler Because He Couldn't Spell His Name

An El Mirage man has been arrested on child abuse charges after the man’s 5-year-old son was found to have severe bruising, The Arizona Republic reports.

The boy’s mother discovered the bruises, after her son complained that his buttocks hurt. According to El Mirage Police Department, 29-year-old Derek Sarber was arrested and charged with one count of felony child abuse on April 26.

On April 25, the 5-year-old boy’s mother picked him up from a day-long visit with Sarber, his father. When they got home, the boy began complaining that his buttocks hurt. The mother examined the boy and found severe bruises on his arm and buttocks, according to authorities.

The boy told his mother that Sarber spanked him after the boy failed to spell his name correctly, according to police. The mother contacted the authorities and filed a police report. She then took the boy to a local hospital for treatment.

Under Arizona law, child abuse is broadly defined as the “infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function or disfigurement…caused by acts or omissions of individuals having care and custody of child.” A father’s beating of a child to the point of causing bruises would clearly fall under the statute’s definition of abuse.

Arizona also has a child abuse reporting law. It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor for certain individuals, including parents, guardians, physicians, dentists, social workers, and psychologists, to fail to report evidence they encounter of child abuse. Had the boy’s mother failed to report the boy’s bruises, she would probably be liable under the law.

Derek Sarber’s 5-year-old son has since been released from the local hospital where he was treated. Sarber is currently awaiting trial for the alleged acts of child abuse.

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