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A Florida couple forced a 13-year-old boy to kneel for nine hours a day for 10 days, and beat him with a stick when he moved, sheriff's deputies say.
Albert Cusson, 57, and his wife Nancy, 47, of Lakeland, Fla., allegedly fed the boy just one protein shake a day, and forced him to sleep in a bathtub, the website Tampa Bay Online reports. They're charged with aggravated child abuse.
The boy's "punishment" -- for misbehaving during home-schooling classes -- was supposed to continue for 20 days, TBO.com reports. But the boy ran away from the Cussons' home on Tuesday.
The boy sought shelter at a neighbor's house, and sheriff's deputies were called to investigate, the New York Post reports.
Forcing the boy to kneel for nine hours at a time was "the only punishment that works for him," the couple told investigators. As part of his "punishment," the boy was not allowed to stretch or use the bathroom while he knelt on a hard floor, a sheriff's affidavit says.
The boy's relationship with the Cussons is not clear. But Albert Cusson told deputies the boy's father punished him the same way, the Post reports.
The Cussons' charge of aggravated child abuse is a first-degree felony in Florida. It applies to anyone who commits aggravated battery on a child -- such as using a weapon in a beating -- and also includes torture and "malicious punishment."
If convicted, the Cussons could each face up to 30 years in prison.
The boy apparently isn't the Cussons' only victim. The couple also allegedly abused a 9-year-old girl, forcing her to kneel for two days in a separate incident, TBO.com reports. Charges in the girl's alleged abuse case are pending.