The pastor of a north Minneapolis church and his son were arrested last week on assault charges for beating a 12-year-old boy with a 2-by-4 and an electrical cord as religious discipline, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.
Dong Wook Kim, 51, of Good News Church, at 3000 W. Broadway Av., was charged with two counts of assault in the second- and third-degree, and a single county of malicious punishment of a child, all felonies, prosecutors said. His 19-year-old son, Joo Seong Kim, faces the same charges.
Police say that father and son repeatedly struck the young victim with various objects — a piece of lumber, electrical cord and a wooden closet rod — and forced him into a "push-up position and plank" for long periods, because the youngster was misbehaving in school and had rejected his faith.
The abuse allegedly occurred between Dec. 14 and 17.
After the most recent alleged beating, the victim fled the church and was found wandering the streets after dark in below-freezing temperatures, police said. A neighbor let him into her home and called police to find out whether the boy had been reported missing, the complaint said.
The boy was taken to a nearby hospital with bruising on his arms, buttocks, back and thighs, "one of which was the approximate size of a football," the complaint read.
When police questioned Kim after that incident, he told them that the beatings were simple discipline, at the behest of the boy's parents.
He said that he struck the boy more than 20 times with a "stick" on Dec. 14, admitting that he'd been "really upset at the time" because the victim told him that he "wanted to test God," according to the complaint.
The boy told authorities that his 4-year-old sister had also been subjected to abuse, the complaint said, and she was later taken into protective custody.
Police said that they recovered the 2-by-4 that Kim and his son allegedly used to beat the boy inside the church, as well as an electrical cord and a wooden rod found in a supply closet.
Both defendants are being held in the Hennepin County jail, and are expected to make their initial appearances in district court on Wednesday.