Tim Engstrom, Albert Lea Tribune, Minn. –
An Albert Lea man was charged Wednesday with a gross misdemeanor for allegedly striking his 11-year-son with boards as punishment.
After a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office investigation, Monte Joe Santee of 1111 St. John Ave. in Albert Lea was placed under arrest Monday afternoon for malicious punishment of a child.
Court documents say sheriff’s detective Chuck Malepsy met with Santee’s son and saw bruising on his buttocks and legs. The boy attributed the marks to discipline he received from his father.
The son told Malepsy the most recent punishment came Saturday. The father ordered the son to the basement for neglecting to fold a pair of his mother’s pants, though the child folded the other clothes he had been assigned, according to the investigation.
The basement, the investigation states, is where he received spankings. The boy’s mother, it states, was at work that day.
“The victim reported that he went to the basement as he was told and that his father then struck him repeatedly with the board,” the investigation states.
Malepsy was able to recover several 1-by-2-inch pieces of wood of various lengths. The investigation states that one was 18 inches long, another was 30 inches.
After the arrest, Malepsy interviewed Santee, who told him that his own father had beaten him and — according to the court files — admitted to hitting the 11-year-old Saturday about seven times on the buttocks and to beating him almost on a weekly basis.
“He said that his son is difficult to deal with and that he is unlike his older brother,” the court files state.
They say Santee told Malepsy beating was not a good way to handle the child and said he lost his cool.
“He said that usually when he hits his son, his wife is around and yells at him, so he has been spanking the boy when his wife isn’t around.”
The files say Santee told Malepsy that family counseling would be appropriate and said the beatings haven’t produced results. He told the detective he “snaps” and resorts to spankings when his son calls him names.
The files say Santee acknowledged hitting the boy more than once with a wooden dowel, too.
Santee, 46, appeared before Judge Ross Leuning on Wednesday and was given a choice of posting $6,000 for bail or being released with conditions, such as staying somewhere besides his home.
Freeborn County Assistant Attorney David Walker said he feared retaliation on the family if Santee was released.
“He has an issue with anger and does not respond appropriately,” Walker said.
Santee told the judge his family would be safe and said he wanted to post the $6,000 and stay at his home. He said he didn’t know where else he could stay under the other option.
The next hearing is set for Jan. 23.
The Sheriff’s Office kept Santee’s name out of the blotter available to the public following the arrest Monday and did not hand over the name Tuesday when asked by a reporter, despite a state law that says arrests are public information. Court documents filed Wednesday shed light on the case.
Santee has been employed by the Albert Lea Parks and Recreation Department since 2007. He was in the news in September when a tree that a homeowner failed to maintain fell on him. Santee had to be transported to a Rochester hospital.