Edward and Laura Pereira (Spartanburg Co. Detention Center)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -
A Spartanburg couple was arrested Monday after police said a woman claimed she saw a child being abused by a man at a store last month.
According to an incident report, police were called to a store at 110 E. Blackstock Road by a woman who said she saw a man yell at a boy, drag him out of the store and then kick him. The woman told police the man then kicked a girl several times.
FOX Carolina spoke to the woman who called police, Ruth Colnot, who said she has not been able to get what she saw out of her mind.
"I feared for those children's lives," Colnot said. "The way they were being kicked was not discipline. There was rage, and I felt somebody needed to speak up."
The report said that Colnot warned the man she would call police if he did not stop kicking the children. The man then said he did not care and that he could do whatever he wants, and then he offered to give Colnot the children, according to the report.
The report stated the abuse was recorded on the store's surveillance video.
On Monday, police said they arrested 46-year-old Edward Pereira and 48-year-old Laura Pereira in connection with the incident. Each were charged with two counts of unlawful neglect of a child.
Capt. Art Littlejohn of the Spartanburg Public Safety Department said Laura Pereira was arrested because she allowed the abuse to happen.
"You can't physically abuse your child at all. You can discipline your children, but you can't abuse them," Littlejohn said.
Dr. Cathy Sparks is a family counselor and explained how discipline can cross the line into abuse.
"According to the law, it crosses the boundary if it leaves marks and bruises on a child. There is also emotional abuse, and humiliating a child is emotionally abusive," Sparks said.
The Pereiras are out of jail on bond following their arrest.
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.