Child abuse alleged after swimming scare
By: Eric Quade 07/17/2010
A family swim July 2 at Silver Lake allegedly turned violent, and a Cameron man has been charged with abusing his 9-year-old son.
Edward G. Sonnenberg, 31, made his initial court appearance last week before Judge James Babler, who set cash bond at $250. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Friday morning regarding the two felony charges Sonnenberg faces-physical abuse of a child and bail jumping. The child abuse charge alone carries a maximum possible penalty of 6 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.
According to the complaint:
Two individuals identified as Nora Bates and Karen Lane spoke with law enforcement regarding an incident they witnessed about 1 hour prior. They said that they saw a man wading out into deep water on Silver Lake with a child who appeared to be 8 or 9 years old. The child appeared very scared and began clinging onto his father’s shirt. The adult male began pushing his child and swearing at the boy, who eventually yelled that he wanted to kill himself. The child’s loud proclamation drew attention from several people in the area, and the father allegedly became more upset before dragging the boy out of the lake, striking the child in the face with the backside of his hand and threatening to beat him when they got home.
The defendant allegedly admitted to authorities that he struck the child, but he said he only hit the boy with a couple fingers in the mouth. Sonnenberg said he was disciplining the child for saying things he should not say. The adult also allegedly said that he had taken the child down the road to a more private area to spank him.
Deputy Jason Hickok then spoke with the alleged 9-year-old victim. The boy said that he and his sister had been playing in the water when his dad showed up and took him out into deep water where the boy couldn’t touch the bottom. The child said he began to swim but soon tired because he had already been swimming too long.
The defendant then apparently became upset and told the boy to let go of his father’s shirt. When the boy didn’t let go, he alleged that his father punched him in the stomach three times and hit him in the face before the child yelled that he was going to kill himself.
The 9-year-old said that his father then pulled him out of the water, brought him up to where his mother was and slapped his face vary hard two times. The boy said he was then driven to the end of a dead end road and spanked.