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Lake Butler Man Jailed in Union County for 'Extreme Cruelty' to Young Children

10:12 PM, Mar 17, 2011   |    comments
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UNION COUNTY, Fla. -- A man has been arrested in connection with the abuse of three children who likely have been beaten for months, police said.

Allegations of "extreme cruelty to children," led to the arrest of 32-year-old Paul Martin in Lake Butler today.

According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, Martin, who lives on County Road 231, was arrested following an investigation started by a complaint from the Department of Children and Families.

The DCF reported that three children, ages 2, 3 and 4, had been choked, burned with cigarettes and beaten.

The children were examined which verified those claims, according to the sheriff's office. "I can not even comprehend why anyone would even contemplate harming a small child," said Sheriff Jerry Whitehead.

Police said Martin is the boyfriend of the mother of the three victims. They were all living in the home, although the children sometimes visited their father's home.

The burns were at least 30 days old and some of the bruises were fresh, said Whitehead.

The children's grandfather noticed the bruising and reported it to the Department of Children and Families. Whitehead said the grandfather was told the children were falling down, but suspected something was not right.

The mother is undergoing training, DCF reported.

None of the children were hospitalized or had life threatening injuries; two of the three sustained burns. Police estimate that the abuse has been going on for about six months.

Martin is being held on three counts of aggravated child abuse. His bond is set at $12,000.

First Coast News

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