Brooks man arrested after boy, 7, comes to school with injuriesAllegedly used 'shock collar' on two children
Brooks — A Brooks man is facing two domestic violence assault charges after a seven-year-old boy went to school Friday morning, March 28, and told staff members there that the man had been physically abusing him as well as his nine-year-old sister.
James Kuhn, 28, of Brooks was arrested following a brief investigation that involved Regional School Unit 3 School Resource Officer Nick Oettinger and the Waldo County Sheriff's Office, said Lt. Jason Trundy with the Waldo County Sheriff's Office.
Trundy said the boy was visibly upset when he told his teachers about the alleged abuse, and also had a series of "bumps and bruises" that raised concern. From there, the school staff called Oettinger to investigate further.
Oettinger went to the school and interviewed the boy, who Trundy said offered a detailed account of some of the abuse he said he and his sister had experienced.
As a result of the interview Deputy Oettinger learned that the seven-year-old student alleged he had been assaulted by Kuhn by being kicked repeatedly in the leg, back and head, according to a statement from Lt. Jason Trundy. The student also disclosed other forms of discipline including the use of a shock collar intended for use on animals. The student alleged this type of abuse/discipline was also used on his nine year old sister, Trundy stated.
"He found [the boy] to be very credible in his disclosure," said Trundy.
From there, Trundy said, Oettinger contacted the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to alert staff there about what the boy had told him, but there was no one immediately available to assist Oettinger at that time.
"That's when Deputy Oettinger dealt with it himself," said Trundy. " ... He decided he really needed to do something sooner rather than later."
Oettinger was headed back to the school to call DHHS again for guidance on how best to proceed with the matter, but in the meantime, Trundy said DHHS staff had contacted Kuhn and told him both children were going to be placed with their mother until the complaint could be investigated.
Kuhn then went to another RSU 3 school and picked up the girl, and staff at that school immediately called Oettinger to tell him Kuhn had just been there and was likely headed to the boy's school to pick him up, too.
Based on that information, Oettinger called the boy's school and staff there put the building on lockdown mode. A short time later, Kuhn arrived at the school as expected, but Trundy said RSU 3 employee and former police officer Tom Ballard met Kuhn as he tried to enter the school and instructed him to leave the property.
As that was occurring, Trundy said, Detective Merl Reed headed to Kuhn's residence, interviewed him and placed him under arrest on the two assault charges.
Trundy said Kuhn did not offer Reed much information about the alleged assaults, stating that Kuhn "denied and minimized" the claims of the child.
Both children are now in the custody of their mother, Trundy said.
Trundy said records show Kuhn was arrested on a domestic violence related charge in 2009, but other than that does not appear to have much of a criminal history with that agency.
Trundy praised Oettinger for his quick work in wrapping up the investigation.
Records from the Waldo County Jail show that Kuhn has since posted bail of $2,500, Trundy said.