A Russellville man has been sentenced to four years in prison for pleading guilty to two counts of child abuse in connection with an incident with a 2-year-old boy in June 2012.
Chad Thomas Elliott, 30, had been taken in after the Cole County Sheriff's Department listed several complaints of abuse occurring at a residence in the 4800 block of Marion Street.
The abused child was found to have a golf ball-sized knot on his forehead, a cut under his chin, a blackened right eye, red marks inside his upper lip and right nostril, and numerous bruises on his right shoulder, both forearms, his back along his spine, his buttocks, down his right calf and throughout the right side of his face.
A witness, whose identity was redacted in court documents released to reporters, told authorities Elliott beat the child with a black belt that had a silver belt buckle, and with a metal kitchen spoon.
The witness said Elliott would strike the child in the legs with the belt and spoon.
The witness also said the boy was going through potty training and, when he defecated in a bathtub a few days ago, Elliott's reaction was to smear the feces on the face of the child.
The witness told deputies they didn't see Elliott actually do the reported abuse, but could hear him yelling and saw the feces on the boy's face.
When Elliott was interviewed by authorities, he denied being involved in the discipline of the child, but did acknowledge he would put the child in time out. He said he never used a belt or spanked the child.
A search of the Marion Street address turned up a black belt with a silver belt buckle hanging from the towel bar above the bathroom toilet.
After viewing photos of the juvenile, authorities said they believed the bruises on his arms were consistent with belt marks.