A Pekin grade school principal told police he recently had to put an 8-year-old boy onto his school bus after classes because the child didn’t want to go home.
It apparently wasn’t because the boy “loves school so much,” as he had said on other days when he acted “disruptive” as classes neared their end, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit.
Shawn Vanetten, 33, the man the boy identified as his stepfather, regularly threw him around, punched him in the nose, locked him out of their house and also physically abused his 4-year-old brother, the boy told police.
Those allegations came to light Friday when a man called police after encountering the boy as he was on his way to Jefferson School. The emotionally-ridden child told the man of Vanetten’s latest assault that morning, the affidavit stated.
That led to felony charges of aggravated battery to a child and domestic battery as a second offense filed Monday against Vanetten, punishable by up to five years in prison. Vanetten was convicted of misdemeanor battery last June.
A detective responding to the school’s call said she found the boy holding a bag of ice to his head that he said hurt from crying so much. Crying as he spoke, he said “he feared (Vanetten) and wanted help for himself and his siblings.” He told the detective he felt better because the man he spoke to that morning said he could come to the man’s house anytime he needs to, the affidavit stated.
That morning, Vanetten found the boy playing a video game before leaving for school, the boy said. Vanetten grabbed him by the shirt, dragged him to another room, threw him down and threatened to “---- him up” if he touched the video game again, the boy said. As the boy left for school, Vanetten said he was “locking all the doors” and “not letting (him) back in,” the child said.
Vanetten battered and threatened him in similar fashion about every two weeks, has bloodied his nose with punches and has thrown his younger brother as well, the boy said.
Vanetten “became irritated and raised his voice” when the detective visited his house later Friday, the affidavit stated. He denied throwing the boy but said he’s grabbed him in the past with permission from the boy’s mother to discipline him.
Vanetten is free on $1,000 bond pending his arraignment Friday.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin