An 8-year-old girl living in a foster home was regularly forced to place a rag in her mouth so her screams couldn’t be heard, according to police in Florida.
The girl was told to “just get your rag.” That meant that she was going to be beaten, she told investigators, and the rag was “so nobody can hear me,” according to arrest reports obtained by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
A medical examination of the girl revealed a number of injuries, including scars, blisters, and bruises from whipping. Doctors found no unmarked skin on the back of the girl’s thighs.
The injuries were described in police affidavits as “an uncountable number of whip and lash marks throughout (the child’s) entire body,” reported Local 10.
The girl said that her injuries were not from being abused when Duane Fletcher, 56, her caretaker was present, but when Fletcher was removed from the foster home, the girl told police that her foster brother, Fletcher’s son Rashad Tarvaris Forman, 27, caused the injuries, along with a woman later identified as Turella Michele Forman, 57.
Rashad Forman used a black jump rope to beat her, the girl added, and the elder Forman, the girl’s foster mother, allegedly used a cellphone charging cord to whip her.
Fletcher, the caretaker, watched as the beatings happened and did not intervene, according to arrest reports obtained by NBC. Fletcher “didn’t save me,” the girl told police, reported the Miami Herald. Instead, he laughed and said she deserved the beatings.
The beating was prompted by a note from school containing negative information, according to the girl. She said that Rashad Forman “thought I did not do my homework,” according to the affidavits.
The elder Forman got home later in the day and heard about what happened. She then allegedly beat the girl with a hanger before telling her to do her homework; when she learned the girl had already done her homework, she beat the child again.
Rashad Forman said he hit the girl with a belt but denied using a jump rope while the elder Forman denied hitting the girl and said she did not know about the girl’s injuries.
The Child Protective Investigations Section investigated the foster home last year after receiving three complaints about alleged abuse of the same girl but ultimately found that the child was not in immediate danger and left her in the foster home, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
There were also reports about Turella Forman as early as 2015, the year her five other children were removed from the house, reported Local 10. The foster child was removed as well but returned about a year later.
Rashad and Turella Forman were both charged with aggravated child abuse while Fletcher was charged with neglecting a child with great bodily harm.
The Formans posted $75,000 bail while Fletcher was in jail on a $50,000 bond.
The Formans were ordered not to go within 1,000 feet of the victim while Turella Forman was ordered to undergo a medical evaluation.