Racine man charged with child abuse for spanking 5-year-old

RACINE -- A Racine man accused of stalking, out on bond, has now been charged with one felony physical abuse of a child - intentionally causing bodily harm (repeater) count, and three counts of felony bail jumping (repeater).

The criminal complaint in the case says 38-year-old Michael Westman Jr. allegedly physically assaulted his five-year-old son. Investigators learned the child told two of his teachers that Westman had "spanked him because he had soiled his underwear," and that Westman had allegedly struck the child with a belt. The complaint says the child suffered significant bruising which spanned across both buttocks.

The complaint says the boy's mother dropped him off at daycare, and told the daycare director the boy had slipped on the kitchen floor after she dropped a jar of jelly. The boy's mother apparently came back later and said her kitchen floor had a very rough texture, not smooth like other kitchen floors.

The daycare director talked with the child, who said he had an "owie," and when asked what happened, the child said "my Daddy spanked me." When a Child Advocacy Center representative interviewed the child, the boy said his father spanked him with a brown belt in the kitchen of his home. The child did not indicate that his mother had spilled a jar of jelly on the kitchen floor, contradicting his mother's story to daycare workers.

The complaint says Westman was on bond in a number of Racine County Circuit Court cases, including previously being charged with one count of first degree reckless homicide and physical abuse of a child. Westman was also charged with stalking and violating restraining orders, and felony bail jumping and possession of drug paraphernalia. Westman was released on bond in these cases.