A 10-year-old boy was repeatedly beaten for three hours during “military training punishment” by two men while five other individuals, including the child's mother stood by and failed to intervene, according to Delaware and Rogers counties investigators.
Matthew Alexander, 23, of Claremore was charged on Jan. 8, in Delaware County District Court with cause, procure, permit injury to child and or enable child abuse. He is free on $25,000 bail.
Alexander is assigned to the Infantry Unit in the Oklahoma National Guard. Telephone calls to officials with the Oklahoma National Guard were not returned as of press time.
Also charged in the incident is Jacquelyn D. Archie, also known as Danni Archie, 31, the mother of the victim, and Joe Clark, 42, her boyfriend, both of Claremore.
Archie asked Alexander “to use military physical training as ‘punishment’” on the child in late May and early June, 2017 because she was unable to discipline the victim effectively at that time, according to a Delaware County probable cause affidavit.
Officials with the Rogers County Sheriff's office determined through their investigation the child "had been physically and mentally abused over a series of several months," a Rogers County affidavit states.
Alexander and Clark were charged in Rogers County District Court on Sept. 25, 2017 with child abuse by injury, both of their bail was set at $100,000. Archie was charged with child abuse by injury and enabling child abuse by injury and bail set at $125,000, court records show.
Wyatt Clark, 21; Destiny Fix, 18; Wessley Brandon Hull Sr., 49, all of Claremore and Devin Roper Forbus, 20, of Inola, were also charged in Delaware County District Court in January with cause, procure, permit injury to child and or enable child abuse.Alexander and the rest of the defendants are to return to court on March 5.
About the charges
Between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2, the group attended a wedding at the Clark’s family cabin in the Zena area of Grand Lake.
Around 11 p.m. on Aug. 30, Alexander woke up the victim telling the child he was in trouble for something he had done earlier in the day, the affidavit states.
The child was made to perform “military physical training” in the dark over rocky terrain, lose gravel and uneven ground, including jumping jacks, push-ups, setups, wall sets, planks, heel raises, bear crawls and sprints, the affidavit states.
The victim had difficulty performing the pushups while wearing shoes so Alexander made him take off his shoes and refused to give them back to the victim and forced him to run across rocks and gravel, the affidavit states.
The punishment was “conducted in a basic training manner with both men (Alexander and Forbus) yelling at the victim, belittling and humiliating him,” the affidavit states.
Forbus and Alexander would strike the child with a switch when the “pushups were done incorrectly,” the affidavit states. Alexander woke up a younger sibling to perform the exercises “to demoralize and embarrass” the victim when the child was unable to perform the exercises, placing “emotional stress” on the child.
Alexander used a switch to beat the child and Forbus hit the child with a strap from a tow truck, the affidavit states.
After three hours of punishment, Hull led the victim to a tree and left him alone in the dark for more than an hour before someone retrieved him, the affidavit states.
The child suffered multiple contusions to his buttock area, lacerations to his lower back and buttock area, abrasions on his toes and bruising, the affidavit states.
When the child attempted to block a strike from Alexander with his hand, he received a lash across his wrist with the switch, the affidavit states.
The following day, the victim was made to run sprints 10 times and not allowed to participate in any of the pre-wedding events for the day and was to remain separated from the rest of the party as another part of his punishment.
Later in the day, the victim was approached by Joe Clark and asked if there was going to be anymore issues. When the child said no, he was allowed to go swimming with the other children, the affidavit states.
After the wedding, the victim was allowed to go home with his grandmother, Marilyn O’Neal, where she discovered the lacerations and bruising on the boy’s back and confronted Archie.
Archie denied the boy’s was punished saying the boy received the injuries while swimming, the affidavit states.
Previously, Clark used a “wooden spoon to beat” the victim when he was not performing physical training to Alexander’s standards and Archie slapped the victim in the face hard enough to leave a bruise, the affidavit states.
The Rogers County investigation showed Joe Clark previously hit the child with a knife sheath and a wooden spoon which left bruises while Alexander would yell in a military style drill sergeant manner, according to an affidavit.
The child was also threatened the men would use a Taser on him, the affidavit states. Archie also slapped the child leaving a bruise, the affidavit states.
In related legal issues, on Sept. 22, Rogers County Judge David Smith issued a 5-year protective order against Alexander on behalf of Marilyn O’Neal, the child’s grandmother.