The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

March 20, 2014

New Ulm man accused of malicious punishment

NEW ULM — A New Ulm man is facing charges for malicious punishment of child.

Steven Zeitz, 31, of New Ulm was charged March 10 in Brown County District Court with felony malicious punishment of a child, three gross misdemeanor counts of contributing to need for child protection or services and gross misdemeanor domestic assault.

According to the criminal complaint, Zeitz was in an argument on March 3 with the victim, who is a minor, while in the victim’s house. Zeitz, who is in a relationship with the victim’s mother, allegedly dragged the victim from the kitchen to the living room. He ordered the victim to stand against the wall with knees bent and arms extended for an extended period.

According to the report, the victim’s mother later told officials that Zeitz would often make the victim and the victim’s siblings stand in this stress position for several minutes.

She said he would often not start his timer, even when the children were in the position, until after they stopped crying.

During the March 3 incident, Zeitz allegedly pinched the victim on the thigh when the victim fell down and refused to assume the position.

Police later noted the victim had a bruise on the same thigh. He allegedly moved on to spanking the victim about 20 times. The mother did not attempt to stop Zeitz, according to the complaint.

Zeitz allegedly would spank the victim and the victim’s siblings on a near weekly basis. The victim’s mother also claimed Zeitz would spend some days constantly yelling or swearing.

According to the complaint, Brown County Family Services records show Zeitz has been involved in several other incidents involving discipline of a child.

In April 2013, Zeitz allegedly spanked one of the victim’s siblings hard enough to cause the sibling to fall to the ground. The sibling allegedly found it painful to get back up.

In May 2013, Zeitz and the victim’s mother admitted to using physical discipline against the children. In fall 2013, Zeitz’s pit bull allegedly bit the victim’s other sibling on three separate occasions before it was removed from the home.

Zeitz was previously convicted of fourth-degree assault in April 2009

His initial court appearance is scheduled for Tuesday.

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