Crime

Manatee man charged with beating kids, ages 6 and 9

MANATEE — A 30-year-old man faces child abuse charges after he beat his two children, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Leonard Payne Sr., of the 3500 block of 14th Street West, was arrested Tuesday evening at a residence in the 1600 block of 26th Street West, where he had fled with his 9-year-old child. After his arrest, Payne told investigators he had panicked after he used a plastic toy to hit his child, who is autistic, after he tried to rub feces on his 6-year-old child Monday evening, according to a news release. He also hit the younger child.

Investigators said the older child had "severe bruising" and minor lacerations on his back and shoulders. Payne told detectives that he had "wanted to teach him a lesson," according to the report. His wife had to stop him from continuing the beating, the sheriff's office said.

The injuries to the 6-year-old child were less severe.

Payne "stated that he knew he was wrong and that he should have handled the situation in a different way," the sheriff's report states.

The sheriff's office started its investigation after a call was made to a child abuse hotline.

Payne was being held without bond at the Manatee County jail on charges of aggravated battery on a child and child abuse.

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