Bunnell, FL – A woman and a man are charged with child abuse in two separate incidents in Flagler County. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Teresa Berndt in Palm Coast Thursday morning. Thursday afternoon, they arrested 36-year-old Andrew Bass in Bunnell.
Deputies responded to BuddyTaylor Middle School at about 8:20 a.m. A 14-year-old student reported that his stepmother, Berndt, pulled him by the hair, punched him, grabbed him by the neck, and head-butted him on Wednesday (November 13) afternoon. The school guidance counselor contacted the School Resource officer, who in turn, contacted the Department of Children and Families.
The investigation found that Berndt was upset when the boy got off the school bus at a friend’s bus stop instead of coming straight home from school. She drove around looking for him and when she found him, forced him into the car. When they arrived home, Berndt told the teen to clean the bathroom tiles with a toothbrush. When he resisted, the ensuing argument resulted in Berndt sitting on top of the child and then head-butting him. The boy did have injuries consistent with the use of excessive force. Berndt was arrested and charged with Child Abuse. She was released this morning (November 15) on her own recognizance.
Later in the day, deputies responded to a home in Bunnell, where they arrested Bass. His 17-year-old daughter told deputies that her father had punched her in the face twice with a closed fist and wrapped his hands around her neck preventing her from breathing. The abuse came after the child’s stepmother asked her for the television remote. The girl refused to do so. Bass overheard the argument and screamed at the child to do as she was told. The abuse took place when she refused.
When the fight was over, the stepmother took the girl to her mother’s house, where law enforcement was contacted. She had finger marks
around her neck, a red swollen eye, and a bloody nose. Bass left the scene prior to law enforcement. When deputies contacted him by phone, he said he was unable to give a statement at the time but would follow up with deputies later. He did not answer calls after that but at 3:11 a.m. today (November 15) deputies went to his residence and took him into custody. Bass in the Flagler County Jail being held on no bond on charges of Child Abuse, Domestic Battery, and Battery by Strangulation.
“I am proud of these children for coming forward and reporting the abuse before it could get any worse,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “All children should know that they can approach a trusted teacher, school resource deputy, or call us for help. Parents have the right to discipline their children but it must be done appropriately and without violence. I hope that this is a wakeup call for the parents to learn proper parenting and appropriate child discipline. I hope the families get the help they need from DCF.”
Child Abuse and Neglect can be reported by calling 9-1-1, the FCSO non-emergency line at 386-313-4911, or by calling the abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (22873).
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