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Man accused of recruiting for gang, child abuse

Investigators say the 21-year-old branded three 13 year olds with a knife as part of an initiation rite.

By Times Staff
Published February 1, 2005

SPRING HILL - A 21-year-old man was being held at the Hernando County Jail on Monday after he was accused of using a knife to initiate teenage members into a reputed street gang.

Christopher Heisler of 11199 Holbrook St. in Spring Hill was charged Friday with three counts of aggravated child abuse and recruiting criminal street gang membership after investigators learned he branded two boys and a girl, all 13.

The Sheriff's Office report said Heisler heated a knife with a butane lighter to burn 3-inch crosses into the teens' arms.

Heisler, a laborer who has a history of contributing to the delinquency of minors, was trying to recruit members to Folk Nation, a Chicago-based alliance that emerged in the 1980s, the report stated. According to the Florida Department of Corrections Web site, Folk Nation is an alliance of gangs.

Heisler told a detective that he has been a member of Folk Nation for at least three years.

Classified under the state's street terrorism and prevention law, the third-degree felony carries a punishment of up to five years in prison.

Monday, Heisler was being held at the Hernando County Jail on $45,000, records show.

[Last modified February 1, 2005, 00:54:18]

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