Authorities arrested two men from Lakeland, Fla., accused of using a stun gun on children who could not perform push-ups correctly.
Eduardo Vazquez and William Torres-Morales allegedly used a stun gun to punish the children living in their house who failed to do push-ups, reports The Washington Post. They told authorities separately they used a stun gun to punish the male children living with them.
According to a news release from Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Vazquez admitted to authorities that “the children needed to be disciplined and that he used the [device] when they acted out.”
“When the children couldn’t do any more push ups, they would stun them with a gun, they would torture them,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Authorities first heard of the abuse allegations in mid-July; a Department of Children and Families referral informed authorities the guardians of nine children, ages 7-13, were allegedly using a stun gun to discipline the children.
A doctor examined two of the children who were allegedly abused and found 15 burns on one child and 10 burns on another’s buttocks. Deputies went to the house and found that five other children has similar two prong burn marks.
Elizabeth Tarvin, 33, and Veronica Sanchez, 32, who are dating Vazquez and Morales, both admitted to authorities that they were aware of the alleged abuse. They have not been accused of abusing the children themselves.
“Elizabeth Tarvin stated she did not try to stop it or advise anyone because she was scared of losing Eduardo Vasquez. Veronica Sanchez stated she let William Torres use the Taser on the children to discipline them,” the release said.
The release also stated Sanchez did not report the abuse because she was worried the children might be taken away.
All of the adults have been charged with nine counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Tarvin and Sanchez were charged with seven counts of failing to report child abuse. Tarvi is being held on a $544,000 bond while Sanchez is being held on a $62,000 bond.
The two men have been charged with seven counts of aggravated child abuse, among other charges.
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