A Gainesville man was arrested on suspicion of child abuse Wednesday evening, after his 15-year-old son escaped their apartment and was found naked inside a local Walgreens begging for help.
Soloman Bennett, 41, told Alachua County Sheriff’s Office deputies he originally tried verbally reprimanding his son because he was disrespectful and hadn’t finished his daily chores.
After the boy rolled his eyes and refused to go inside his bedroom, Bennett made his son strip down completely naked before assaulting him, according to the arrest report.
Bennett used a leather belt to strike his son’s butt multiple times. The boy had multiple dark red belt lines across his body that appeared beyond the scope of corporal punishment, according to the arrest report.
Bennett told deputies he struck his son “15, 20, 30 times” with the belt. The boy told deputies the fight started over a video Bennett didn’t approve of, according to the arrest report. In addition to the belt beatings, the boy said Bennett punched him in the head multiple times.
The abuse led him to jump through the window of their third-story apartment at the Bellamay Grand complex in Gainesville. A neighbor, who heard loud screaming and stomping in the upstairs unit, witnessed the boy hanging from his window screaming “help me,” according to the arrest report.
The child ran inside a Walgreens, located at 2415 SW 75th St., and less than a half-mile away, while still naked and covered in blood.
Bennett was arrested on one count of felony child abuse without causing great bodily harm. He is being held at the Alachua County Jail on a $100,000 bond.
Contact Daniel Bednar at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on X @Danielbednar5.
Daniel Bednar is a first-year political science major and the Criminal Justice reporter for The Alligator. When he's not writing, you can find him scuba diving in the Keys or flying airplanes.