A man from Licking is in the Texas County Jail following an investigation by a state agency and the Texas County Sheriff’s Department.
On Tuesday, the department received a report of possible child abuse from the Missouri Department of Social Services children’s division. An investigation into the allegations was initiated by Texas County deputies and an investigator from the agency.
A 16-year-old female reported being struck repeatedly with a belt causing marks and severe bruising. The suspect, John C. Petersen, 44, of 105 Sugar Maple Drive at Licking, was interviewed and admitted to striking the female with a belt and using excessive force, authorities said.
Petersen was arrested and transported to the Texas County Jail. He is charged with abuse or neglect of a child and endangering the welfare of a child (both class D felonies) by assistant Texas County prosecuting attorney Jason MacPherson. Peterson's bond was set at $150,000.
“Missouri statutes allow for discipline of a child, including spanking in a reasonable manner," said Texas County Sheriff Scott Lindsey. "The investigators in this case and the prosecuting attorney have all concluded that based on the evidence and statements that this was not reasonable discipline and instead was a criminal offense.”