Palm Coast Man Accused of Abusing 8-Year-Old After Taunting He’d Feed Him to Alligators
FlaglerLive | August 18, 2016
Dereck Alan Dunn, a 28-year-old resident of Kings Colony Court in Palm Coast, is facing a felony child abuse charge after local school officials found evidence of physical abuse on an 8-year-old boy’s face, arms, legs and behind.
Dunn is alleged to have threatened to feed the boys to alligators in a pond near the boy’s house–jokingly, Dunn told authorities, though the boy took the man seriously. Dunn also allegedly said he’d clothe the boy in a dress and a tiara, suggesting he was taunting the boy’s identity.
What motivated Dunn to allegedly strike the boy with a belt–which Dunn admitted to doing several times–is unclear.
The incident took place Monday (Aug. 15), when the boy was left alone with Dunn, who is not the boy’s father. When interviewed by the Child Protection Team, the boy said his mother and his two little sisters had left the house to run errands. He went outside to the pond with Dunn, where the supposed quip about Dunn feeding him to the alligators took place. The arrest report does not explain what took place between that moment and the time when Dunn and the child were back in the house, where, the child said, Dunn struck him in the face and pushed his head on the carpet hard enough that the child could not breathe. Dunn told police he is 5’9”, weighs 300 pounds, and described himself as very strong.
The child then retreated to a closet in a bedroom, where Dunn struck him on the buttocks with a belt, according to the arrest report. The boy claims he was struck about 10 times with the belt. It was at that point that Dunn, the boy said, mentioned he’d buy him a dress and a tiara. The Child Protection Team had taken several pictures of the alleged victim, which showed “loop shaped marks on his right arm and left hamstring area,” and “various marks all over [the child’s] body. There appeared to be linear marks and bruising on [the child’s] body.”
The boy’s mother had left the house with her own father and the two younger girls for about one or two hours. When she got home, her son was holding his face, but he didn’t tell his mother what happened, according to the arrest report. Dunn told the boy’s mother–and would later tell police–he accidentally hit the boy in the face when the pair were allegedly teasing each other by kicking each other in the butt, “apparently this is a game” the man and the boy play, the deputy reported in the arrest affidavit. At first Dunn denied hitting the boy witha belt, but later conceded to a deputy that he had done so “several times,” the report states. Dunn was insistent that he’d never struck the boy with his hand.
The boy’s mother, however, told police that she’d only seen Dunn smack the boy with his hand, and said she’d not be OK with him using an object to do so.
Felony child abuse is a third-degree felony. Dunn remained at the Flagler County jail Thursday evening on $7,500 bond. His arraignment is on Sept. 26 before Circuit Judge Matthew Foxman. A no-contact order is in place regarding the child, which means even when Dunn is released from jail, he is not to be in the house where the boy lives.