IRVINE, Calif. (The Blaze/AP) -- An Irvine couple who suspected their 15-year-old son of smoking turned to a man believed to be relied on in their Lutheran church to violently discipline children, authorities said.
The parents asked Paul Kim, 39, to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, dropping the boy off at Kim's Chino Hills home with permission for the beating, San Bernardino County sheriff's spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.
Kim apparently asked the boy about the lighter. When he suspected that the boy was lying to him, Kim began beating him.
"After receiving permission from the victim’s father to use corporal punishment, Kim struck the child approximately 12 times with a metal pole, which was about 1” in diameter, on the back of the legs, causing injuries,” read a statement that came from the department.
An adult at the boy's school saw the bruises and called Irvine police, who in turn informed San Bernardino County officials, she said.
Kim was arrested Tuesday at his home and released Thursday after posting $100,000 bail. He faces a felony charge of willful cruelty to a child. No court date has been set, according to jail records.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's office was reviewing the sheriff's department report and will decide whether to charge the teen's father, Bachman said. It wasn't immediately known whether the father was present at the time of the beating.
The names of the boy and his parents were not released.
Investigators believe Kim has been used in this way by other families in the congregation, and asked for victims and witnesses to come forward.
The name of the church was not released but Bachman said it was located in La Habra. The Imperfect Parent blog is claiming that it is the Emanuel Lutheran Church.
It wasn't immediately known whether Kim had hired an attorney. A message left at a Chino Hills listing with his name was not returned Saturday.