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Cape man sentenced to 15 years on child abuse charge

By Staff | Aug 27, 2011

A Cape Coral man accused of beating and abusing a 4-year-old relative last year was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Thursday.

Francisco Lazaro Perez, 25, pleaded no contest to one count of aggravated child abuse malicious punishment, a first-degree felony. A judge delivered the sentence, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office reported Friday.

“There was no plea agreement, he plead straight to the court,” Samantha Syoen said. “So it was up to the judge to determine the sentence after the hearing.”

Assistant State Attorney Francine Donnorummo handled the case.

Penelope Michalakis, with the Public Defender’s Office, represented Perez.

She did not immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.

In April 2010, the Department of Children and Family Services contacted Cape police about a child with extensive rug burns on the buttocks. The child told authorities the burns were from being dragged on the carpet by Perez.

Detectives conducted an interview with the child’s mother, who reportedly said Perez has an anger issue and has spanked the child excessively with his hand, belt and other items. She denied witnessing the abuse, but reportedly stated that Perez has punched the child in the chest and stomach areas.

She also reportedly told police that Perez would make the child kneel and remain on an inverted car mat called “Mr. Spikey” as a form of punishment.

During an interview, Perez allegedly said he poured hot sauce in the child’s mouth and used Mr. Spikey for time-outs as forms of discipline. He also said he struck the child in the hands and legs with the spiked side of the mat and punched the child in the chest and arms, police reported.

Perez reportedly said he had to discipline the child about four days a week.