A Glenside couple have been arrested after allegedly beating their 12-year-old foster child so badly that he needed 18 stitches to close a cut on his cheek.
Claybon Hawthorne, 48, faces aggravated-assault and other charges, and his wife, Renee Fennell Hawthorne, 50, terroristic threats and endangering the welfare of a child in the April 30 incident.
According to police, Renee Hawthorne accused the child of ordering an iPhone using her credit card. Apparently as punishment, her husband dragged him by a leg into a room in their home and beat him on the head and face with a broomstick, police said.
When that broomstick broke, police said, Hawthorne got another and continued the beating. He also used a belt, the boy told authorities.
Renee Hawthorne was in the room during most of the incident, police said. She allegedly later told the 12-year-old not to tell anyone about the beating.
The Hawthornes did not report the incident or injuries.
The boy had been placed in the Montgomery County foster home in October by the Philadelphia Department of Human Services through a private agency, Cheltenham Township police said. The case manager for DHS had gone to the house May 1 after the foster mother told her to come get the child, police said.
When she got there, the worker noticed a "large laceration" on his left cheek and a cut on his right ear. She took him to Abington Memorial Hospital, where police began an investigation.
DHS director of communications Alicia Taylor did not confirm the identity of the foster parents, but said "we place children outside of Philadelphia for a number of reasons," such as the foster family's being related or having experience with a special-needs child. A DHS worker then would continue visiting the child in the foster home.
Authorities said that after the 12-year-old's injuries were known, the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth got involved and Wednesday obtained an emergency court order to move the Hawthornes' three adoptive children, all under 18, to a foster home.
Claybon and Renee Hawthorne are in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility with bail set at $125,000 for him and $99,000 for her. Preliminary hearings are scheduled this month for both.