This is Discipline? Man Accused of Beating Boy, 4, for Misspelling Name

Police said the leather belt used left the boy's skin split open.

Anthony Burgess, accused of child cruelty, shown in a Gwinnett County courtroom Wednesday, July 9. Credit: WSB-TV screenshot
Anthony Burgess, accused of child cruelty, shown in a Gwinnett County courtroom Wednesday, July 9. Credit: WSB-TV screenshot

A Gwinnett County man has been accused of beating his girlfriend’s 4-year-old son so hard with a leather belt the boy’s skin split open.

The boy was apparently being disciplined for spelling his name wrong.

Anthony Burgess has been charged with first-degree cruelty to children, according to Gwinnett County jail records, and was still in jail Thursday morning on a $5,700 bond. He was arrested July 7, according to the police report.

WSB-TV reported Burgess made his first appearance in a Gwinnett County courtroom Wednesday afternoon and asked for a court-appointed lawyer.

According to the incident report, a neighbor across the street at Smokecreek Mobile Homes near Snellville called police after overhearing the alleged beating.

The mother, who was not named in the report, told police the boy was being disciplined.

“She advised her son … could not write his name down properly and gave her an attitude, so she took a large leather belt and struck him across the knuckles,” the incident report stated.

Burgess then allegedly took the belt, told the boy to pull his pants down, bend over and put his hands on a bath-tub railing.

“He began to forcefully and excessively strike him on his buttocks, lower back, mid-back and over his shoulder blades, leaving numerous welts, lacerations, abrasions and ultimately caused his skin to split open, leaving an open wound, which was still bleeding upon [police] arrival,” the reporting officer wrote.

A neighbor told WSB she overheard a man’s voice from the trailer saying, “You’re going to sit here and write this and you’re not that hurt.”

The investigating officer also noted in the police report that there were old welts and bruises, but the mother and Burgess denied the scars came from previous beatings.

The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services has assigned a case worker regarding the incident.

Carrot-top July 11, 2014 at 10:31 AM
♥ Broken :(
Barbara Scott July 11, 2014 at 11:36 AM
This is so sad the mother should be arrested also...the child is only 4...please take the child oit of the household...not his father, dont put your hands on him...plain and simple.....
Lisa G July 11, 2014 at 06:43 PM
Barbara this was the momma's boyfriend not the baby daddy. But she should lose custody, there is no reasonable excuse for beating a 4 year old. Octo Slash - So sad that you find child abuse amusing.
Greg Barrett July 11, 2014 at 07:33 PM
Octo slash . You suck,
erie July 12, 2014 at 09:02 AM
I was 12 year and saw a sign and the lights was out on ham. My dad ask me did I want something to eat and I said yeah a hamburger and he said cool and ask me how to spell hamburger. I said Burger. He said sound it out and spell it. Smiling I said Burger.My dad said forgetabout it and do you want some cheese on that burger LMAO.


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