MCCORDSVILLE — A McCordsville man was arrested Monday after a boy told investigators the man beat him with a leather belt after he got in trouble at school, according to court documents.
Todd Gatling, 36, faces a Level 5 felony charge of battery on a child. He was scheduled to appear in Hancock County Superior Court 1 for a hearing Tuesday afternoon. Gatling has been ordered not to have contact with the victim, court records show.
McCordsville Police Officers and Department of Child Services officials began investigating Gatling in mid-November after a 12-year-old told his school’s assistant principal Gatling had hit him repeatedly with a belt, court records state. The boy had gotten in trouble at school for stealing a drink from the cafeteria the same day of the incident, police said.
The boy said Gatling hit him on his legs, causing him to fall on the ground. When he tried to block the blows, Gatling hit him on his arms, the boy told police.
The child got in trouble at school again the next day and was called to the principal’s office; while he was there, he broke down in tears and confided in school officials his fears he would be beaten again, court documents state.
School officials found and photographed red marks on the boy’s legs and arms, court records state.
In an interview with police, Gatling admitted to spanking the boy with the belt, but he said he did not use all of his strength when he hit the boy, court records state. Gatling did not observe marks on the boy’s body because the child was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt at the time, Gatling told police.
Level 5 felonies carry a sentencing range of one to six years and up to $10,000 in fines.