Originally created 11/30/02

Father is arrested in teen's beating



An Augusta father was arrested Friday after being accused of beating his 13-year-old daughter and making her hold a heavy phone book at arm's length for long periods of time.

Shaft Laurance Holmes, 30, of the 2000 block of Dallas Circle, was charged with felony cruelty to children first-degree, said Lt. Jimmy Young of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Cecilie Holmes called police Friday and said her husband beat their daughter two weeks ago with a belt. The beating left welts that remained visible and required a visit to the hospital this week, Lt. Young said.

The father was reportedly upset Nov. 16 after the girl's teacher called about her having bad grades, Lt. Young said. The father then pulled out his belt and struck her about 15 to 20 times, police said.

"He also made her do wall squats," Lt. Young said. "He made her put her back against the wall and hold a phone book in front of her. He made her do them in 15-minute increments until she suffered muscle failure."

Mrs. Holmes reportedly objected to the punishments, Lt. Young said. "She was telling him to stop, that it was too much."

Investigator Paul Godden visited the hospital and took pictures of the girl's welts and bruises, Lt. Young said. "Anytime you whip someone, and the bruises are there two weeks later, that's too much," the lieutenant said.

Mr. Holmes remained in the Richmond County jail Friday night without bond.

The arrest came after police declined to charge several fathers for beating their children this year.

In September, police chose not to arrest an Augusta father for whipping his 12-year-old girl. A University Hospital physician examined the girl and told authorities that he did not consider the injuries "cruel and excessive."

In July, a 15-year-old girl accused her father of abuse after he whipped her for being disobedient. The girl slapped her father, who then whipped his daughter more. Doctors told police the injuries were "borderline excessive, but not cruel."

Reach Greg Rickabaugh at (706) 828-3851 or greg.rickabaugh@augustachronicle.com.