Judge may dismiss child beating charge

Published 7:48 pm Saturday, November 17, 2012

Schwab puts sentencing on hold, will wait 1 year to sentence in case

A Freeborn County District Court judge has put the sentencing on hold for an Albert Lea man charged with beating his son with boards.

Monte Santee

Monte Joe Santee, 47, on Friday pleaded guilty to one count of malicious punishment of a child as part of a plea agreement between his lawyer and the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office. However, instead of issuing a sentence, Freeborn County Judge Steve Schwab ordered the case be held for a year with the notion that Santee’s charge can be dismissed at that time if he does not have any further violations.

The charge was a gross misdemeanor.

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Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said Santee went through a domestic violence intervention-type program on his own, and the relationship between the father and son has improved.

According to court files, Santee admitted to a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office investigator that he hit the child on the buttocks on an almost weekly basis. Court files referred to 1-by-2-inch pieces of wood anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet long.

The case started when the man’s son approached local law enforcement about his father’s discipline in January. A Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office investigator states in court files he saw bruising on the boy’s buttocks and legs, which the child attributed to his dad.

Court files say the son told the investigator that, in the most recent punishment, the father ordered the son to the basement for neglecting to fold a pair of his mother’s pants while folding a basket of clothes. The basement is where the punishments were administered, against the wishes of the mother, the court files stated.