Boy in mother's care after beating

Another relative has been charged in the three-hour flogging of the 8-year-old child.

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008

ST. PETERSBURG - A child who police say was flogged by a relative for three hours has been returned to his mother.

Laura Etta Robinson, a 57-year-old retiree, remained in the Pinellas County Jail on Tuesday on a $120,000 bond. She is charged with false imprisonment and aggravated child abuse.

A St. Petersburg Police Department arrest affidavit initially said the Florida Department of Children and Families was not contacted on the case. But the affidavit was marked wrong and the DCF actually contacted police about the 8-year-old boy, said police spokesman Bill Proffitt.

According to the St. Petersburg Police Department affidavit:

The incident occurred from about 11 p.m. Feb. 7 to 2 a.m. Feb. 8. Robinson was babysitting the boy, Proffitt said, "because of health issues with the mother."

Robinson went to the boy as he was in bed sleeping, wrapped his wrists in duct tape and dragged him into the living room. She tied his arms to a coffee table with a bungee cord and placed duct tape around his legs.

She then laid him facedown with his pajama pants down and hit his behind repeatedly with what police described as a "long, black flexible object."

"As she was beating him, she rested in between, alternating from striking hard - soft - then harder and harder," the police report said. "As she was beating him, she repeated 'obey, obey' over and over again."

The boy suffered injuries, the report said, but did not require medical treatment. He was returned to his mother's care.