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AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) — Austin police arrested a church pastor and his twin brother Tuesday, alleging they used a tree branch to beat unconscious an 11-year-old who misbehaved in Bible class.
Joshua Thompson, 22, a pastor at Capitol City Baptist Church, and his brother Caleb turned themselves in Tuesday and were released on $25,000 bond, KEYE-TV reported. They were charged with injury to a child, a felony punishable by up to life in prison, the station reported.
The alleged beating took place July 3, according to reports. The brothers thought the boy did not take his Bible verses seriously enough during a church-sponsored summer camp for Spanish-speaking students, officials said.
The alleged abuse took place at a private home, said Bobby Taylor, the child’s attorney. “They … cut a branch off a tree, made my client lay on the bed, and beat him,” Taylor said.
Court records obtained by Reuters alleged that the beating lasted for 90 minutes, broke blood vessels and caused the boy’s kidneys to fail. The brothers allowed the child to take a break in the restroom during the reported beating, documents said.
Joshua Thompson beat the child while Caleb Thompson held him down, Reuters reported, citing court records. They reportedly turned up a radio to drown out the child’s cries, the news service reported.
Afterward, the two took the boy back to his home, where Joshua Thompson told the parents the child needed further discipline, the AP reported.
After the Thompsons left, the boy’s parents discovered bruises and cuts covering his entire back, as well as bruises on his neck, buttocks and legs, AP reported. They called police and took their son to a hospital, where he remained in fair condition Tuesday, the news service said.
Capitol City Baptist does not support corporal punishment, said Jerald Finney, Joshua Thompson’s lawyer.