Charges: Woodbury woman dispensed harsh discipline regimen, beat girl with spoonA juvenile female showed up at the Woodbury Middle School nurse’s office last week with bruises on her body and a story of painful discipline.
By: Mike Longaecker, Woodbury Bulletin
A juvenile female showed up at the Woodbury Middle School nurse’s office last week with bruises on her body and a story of painful discipline.
The girl, whose story was recounted to police by a school nurse, had allegedly been forced to hold a chair over her head for two hours while enduring beatings with a wooden spoon.
Prosecutors later charged 26-year-old Ahavel Scherz with one count of malicious punishment of a child – a gross misdemeanor – and one count of misdemeanor domestic assault in connection with the allegations.
According to a criminal complaint:
The girl had been caught taking Scherz’s belongings April 1 at the Woodbury house where they both lived.
Scherz – who is known to the family – punished the girl by making her kneel on the linoleum kitchen floor. While kneeling, the girl was forced to hold a metal-and-plastic chair above her head with her arms and back held straight. If she bent her elbows or let down the chair, she was beaten by Scherz with a wooden spoon on her elbows and upper leg.
The punishment lasted nearly two hours.
The school nurse discovered three bruises on the girl's thigh measuring up to nearly five inches in length. The nurse also found a bruise on the girl's knee.
The girl told the school nurse that after the discipline was over, her arms felt like they were “on fire” and that “her body hurt all over” when she went to go to bed.
The girl and a sibling attempted to run away after going to bed and spent the night in the woods. The nurse also found a rash that the girl attributed to sleeping outside.
When the girl returned home from outdoors, Scherz and a man the girl knows were there.
Scherz and the man forcibly brought the girl to school the next day, the complaint states. She was arrested the next day.
The man was questioned by police and admitted overseeing and approving the discipline. He has not been charged in the case. First Assistant Washington County Attorney Steve Povolny said the investigation remains active and prosecutors are awaiting additional reports.
Scherz was released from jail April 4 on her own recognizance. She was given a domestic abuse no-contact order and was prohibited from possessing firearms or dangerous weapons.
She makes her next court appearance April 16.