A Minneapolis man was charged with physically abusing his nephew by forcing him to run all night in place, beating him and shocking him with an exposed electrical cord.
John C. Richards, 46, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with malicious punishment of a child, defined as one or more intentional acts of "unreasonable force and/or cruel discipline" of a minor.
The boy, now 15, moved into his uncle's home in the 3900 block of Bryant Avenue N. when he was about 10, according to court papers. He told authorities that Richards began abusing him several years ago.
"Victim stated that the defendant would make him stay up all night and run in place," according to the criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
The boy said that if he stopped running, Richards would hit him with a switch. His uncle also took a broken extension cord with exposed wires to "zap" him, the teen alleged.
He got breakfast and lunch at school, but the uncle often gave him only two pieces of bread at dinner.
The victim said Richards also struck him with a "flexible stick" and that a friend of the uncle would help his uncle by holding the youth down.
The victim's little brother said he had seen Richards spank the teen and hit him with a spoon. He said he saw his brother running in place holding a bat over his head, charges said.
According to the victim's older brother, who graduated from high school in 2015 and moved out, Richards hit the teen with a stick and made him run in place, holding a bucket filled with water over his head. The older brother said he also saw multiple injuries on the victim's body.
The documents state that Richards denies abusing the youth but admitted having him run in place. Richards denied he forced the youth to hold things above his head.
A warrant has been issued for Richards' arrest. He is currently not in custody.