Two more suspects have been charged in connection with the disciplinary beatings of a 12-year-old boy and his younger sister, who were routinely hit with a 2-by-4 and an electrical cord as punishment, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The alleged abuse was meted out by the pastor of a church on Minneapolis’ North Side and several members of his family, according to court filings.
Seung Joo Choi Kim, 49, and 19-year-old Khu Moo, 19, of Robbinsdale, were the third and fourth suspects arrested in the beatings, alleged to have occurred between Dec. 14 and 17. They were each charged with counts of aiding and abetting second- and third-degree assault, prosecutors said. Kim was further charged with third-degree assault with a past pattern of child abuse and two counts of malicious punishment of a child, according to a criminal complaint.
Kim was taken into custody on Tuesday. “Minneapolis police have done an excellent job of conducting follow-up interviews and finding more people we could charge with these terrible beatings of young children,” Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman said in a news release Tuesday.
He added police were still investigating the beatings.
Family members charged
Kim’s husband, Dong Wook Kim, 51, of Good News Church at 3000 W. Broadway Av., was arrested last month and charged with two counts of assault in the second and third degree and a single count of malicious punishment of a child, all felonies, prosecutors said. His 19-year-old son, Joo Kim, faces the same charges.
Police say that suspects repeatedly struck the young victims with various objects — a piece of lumber, an electrical cord and a wooden closet rod. They also forced a young boy into a “push-up position and plank” for long periods, for acting up in school and later rejecting his faith.
When police questioned Kim after that incident, the pastor told them that the beatings were simple discipline, done with the parents’ blessing.