Mom charged in boy-in-oven case

  • Article by: ROCHELLE OLSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2009 - 12:00 AM

The woman allegedly told police that she turned on the oven to force boy out when he hid there during a beating.

The mother of an 11-year-old boy who hid in an oven to escape alleged abuse by his father has also been charged in the incident, in part because she pulled the boy back into the apartment after he had escaped, according to court documents.

Debra D. Chatman, of Minneapolis, has been charged in Hennepin County District Court with endangerment of a child, a felony, and malicious punishment of a child, a gross misdemeanor.

According to the complaint, William T. Hurley beat the boy with his fists and an extension cord. Chatman told police that she initially punished the boy by striking him with a belt, then Hurley burned him with an iron, the complaint said. Chatman said she heard the boy scream, "He's burning me."

Chatman said the boy ran out of the apartment, so she grabbed him and dragged him back in, the complaint said. Hurley allegedly started punching the boy again, and the boy ran to hide in the oven and grabbed on to something in there. Chatman said she turned on the oven to cause the boy to "release his hold," the complaint said.

When the boy got out, Hurley "continued to assault him," the complaint said.

Hurley was charged last week with malicious punishment of a child.

According to the charges against Hurley, filed in Hennepin County District Court, police arrived at an apartment on the 2000 block of Elliott Avenue on a child abuse call. The boy told officers that Hurley was upset with him for being in his mother's bedroom. Hurley punched him and threatened to kill him for hiding under a bed, the charges allege.

Officers saw marks and burns on the boy's body, and, as they spoke to him, Hurley said he had "'whooped' [the boy] and "that he would get another," the complaint said. Hurley had to be restrained by police, the complaint said.

The boy was taken to a hospital.

Rochelle Olson • 612-673-1747

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