Daniel Watson, 37, a teacher at Irving Elementary School in Muskogee, was charged last week in Cherokee County with felony child abuse, according to documents obtained by MuskogeeNOW.com.
The case accuses him of willfully, maliciously and excessively spanking a four-year-old boy to whom he is not related, leaving “significant” bruises.
According to an affidavit filed on the case by Officer Bryan Qualls of the Tahlequah Police Department, the child’s mother called police after her sister noticed bruises on his legs and buttocks while babysitting the boy.
The mother took the boy to a Muskogee pediatrician, who told her the bruising appeared to be “non-accidental.” When the mother asked the boy what happened, the affidavit states, he said “Denny did it.” Denny is the name the boy called Watson, the affidavit continues.
The mother then contacted DHS, which advised her to contact the Tahlequah Police. Officer Qualls interviewed Watson, who, according to Qualls, said, “it’s not OK,” and “I didn’t mean to hurt him.” The boy, who is autistic, got up too often during the night, Watson said, so he bent the boy over his knee and spanked him multiple times during the night, according to the affidavit.
Officials with Muskogee Public Schools were not available to comment on the issue, according to an unidentified woman who answered the phone at the administration building. Watson is, however, still listed as faculty on the district’s web site.