MERRILL (WAOW) - The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department says a 51-year-old rural Merrill man told investigators he struck his nine-year-old stepson as punishment for stealing food.
The man was charged Monday with felony child abuse and felony possession of marijuana. A judge set a $4,000 signature bond, according to online court records.
The criminal complaint says the man was arrested Saturday when a deputy found bruising on the boy's back, backside and face after responding to a call of suspected child abuse.
The boy told investigators his stepfather "repeatedly" spanked him and slapped him on both sides of his face over the boy "stealing" some of the stepfather's food after the boy got home from school Friday.
The mother told police the stepfather also pushed the boy down and spat in his face.
The complaint says the stepfather told investigators he did not remember wanting to hurt the boy or how many times he hit him during the 10-minute confrontation.
The complaint says deputies also found marijuana in the family's home when the welfare of the boy was being checked. The stepfather told investigators he smoked 2-3 bowls a day to "help medicate," the complaint said.