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Prosecutors say Walworth school staff found 7-year-old boy covered in bruises
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Prosecutors say Walworth school staff found 7-year-old boy covered in bruises

Walworth Elementary School

Walworth Elementary School 

ELKHORN — A town of Walworth man is charged with felony child abuse after school officials reported finding a 7-year-old boy covered with bruises in the worst case of suspected child abuse they had ever seen.

Danny L. Spencer, 38, was charged Oct. 30 with physical abuse of a child-intentionally causing bodily harm, a felony that is punishable by up to six years in prison.

The case is based on allegations of abuse reported at Walworth Elementary School in 2019, when the alleged victim was 7 years old.

According to a criminal complaint issued by the Walworth County district attorney, the boy told police that Spencer beat him with a belt, and that Spencer on one occasion “hit me and hit me and hit me.”

Teachers and staff at Walworth Elementary School reported that the boy smelled of poor personal hygiene, and whey they tried to clean him up, they spotted numerous bruises on his body.

The complaint states that school counselor Jennifer Ott Wilson became emotional when describing the boy’s condition to police, telling officers, “This is the worst case she had seen.”

Deputy Robert Schiltz of the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department told prosecutors that he found bruising around the boy’s torso, on his legs, scars on his back, and an apparent hand imprint on his skin.

“Schiltz could not count the number of bruises because they were so many,” the complaint states.

The boy at first told school officials that he had fallen off a bed and that a dog had jumped on him. He later said that Spencer had beat him with a belt several times as disciplinary action.

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According to prosecutors, the boy was able to describe the belt in detail. He told investigators that whenever Spencer decided the boy needed discipline, Spencer would “bring the belt out.”

Spencer told police he denied beating the alleged victim with a belt. But according to the complaint, Spencer acknowledged striking the boy, including one time when the boy punched his younger brother in the nose.

The defendant admitted to investigators that he might have struck the boy too hard and caused some bruising, according to the complaint.

“Spencer indicates that he might have lost his temper, but it wasn’t by intention,” the complaint states.

Walworth County court records show that Spencer is due in court Dec. 2 for an initial appearance on the felony child abuse charge.

The situation developed in March 2019 when counselors at Walworth County Elementary School found that the boy, who has since turned 9 years old, was coming to school smelling like he needed a bath. When school staff got permission from the boy’s mother to let him shower at school, they discovered the alleged bruising on his body.

The boy’s mother later told police she was aware that Spencer had allegedly disciplined her boy by striking him. According to the criminal complaint, she told officers that Spencer loses his temper.

She added, “This is the first time that he went overboard.”

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