COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The owner of an after-school program alleged to have beaten one of his students so hard that it left bruises, according to the child's mother, has been charged by the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
In a series of stories reported by WIS, Latisha Jones, 36, said her 9-year-old son returned home from A&A Youth Community and Learning Center with bruises on his body.
The Richland County Sheriff's Department arrested the owner, Allen Smith, 50, and charged him with cruelty to children.
According to sheriff's investigators, a call from one of the program's parents led to the investigation. The parent told investigators Smith assaulted the child with a wooden ruler on the lower body and right forearm.
In a phone interview, Smith said he "only gave him seven licks" when asked about the allegations, and said it wasn't the first time he had spanked the child. But Smith said he was like family to the child and his mother, the boy had even spent time at Smith's house, and Smith had her permission to discipline him.
Smith was booked at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.