Polk County Sheriff's Special Victims Unit detectives arrested a husband and wife on March 8, 2012, and charged both with Aggravated Child Abuse for making a 13-year-old boy who they had access to kneel on his knees on a hard floor for nine hours a day several days in a row.
"There is no excuse for this type of deplorable behavior. People who mistreat children are the worst of the worst. Jail is too good for them - the Cussons will be more comfortable in the county jail than this little boy was when he was in their care." - Sheriff Grady Judd
According to their affidavits, 57-year-old Albert Cusson (DOB 11/11/1954) of 12217 Old Dade City Road in Lakeland, and his 47-year-old wife, Nancy (DOB 11/7/1964), with the same last name and address, made a 13-year-old boy kneel on his knees with his hands behind his back on the bathroom floor from 7:00 a.m. in the morning until 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon for 10 days straight, ending on March 3, 2012. The boy was not allowed to stretch, take a break, eat, or use the restroom during the nine straight hours of kneeling. If the boy moved during the time he was supposed to be kneeling, he was beaten with a stick. During the time period where he was forced to kneel all day, he slept in the bathtub at night.
Nancy made a shake each morning for the boy consisting of vegetables, meat, and any other food, which she described as a "protein shake with at least 1800 to 2000 calories" to detectives, and then did not allow the boy any food or drink for the rest of the day. The boy was told this was his punishment for misbehaving. The Cussons told detectives this was "the only punishment that works for him."
On March 6, 2012, the boy was told he would be kneeling all day for 20 days straight as punishment. After two days of kneeling all day, on March 7th the boy left the residence because he "could not take it anymore," and the abuse was reported.
Detectives observed marks on the boy's body consistent with the abuse, and noted that the boy had trouble walking because he was so sore from kneeling for so long. He was taken to LRMC to be treated for his injuries.
The Cussons also had access to a 9-year-old girl who witnessed the abuse, and was also made to kneel herself for two days. Further charges are pending in reference to this victim. Albert and Nancy Cusson were arrested on Thursday, March 9, 2012, and charged with one count each Aggravated Child Abuse (F-1).