A 27-year-old Gardnerville Ranchos father pleaded guilty to child abuse Monday, saying he beat his 5-year-old son to discipline the kindergartner for allegedly stealing at school.
Dewayne Rey faces up to six years in prison at his sentencing Dec. 17. He is ineligible for probation unless a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation determines that he is not a high risk to re-offend.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the state dismissed four additional allegations of child abuse involving other children in the family, and agreed to recommend 12-36 months.
Rey was arrested on Aug. 29 after authorities were called to the school by a teacher who asked the little boy why he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt.
An examination revealed a half-dozen welts and bruising on the child's back and chest.
On Monday, District Judge Michael Gibbons assigned a Court-Appointed Special Advocate to represent the child.
Gibbons denied Rey's request to lower his $100,000 bail, or release him on his own recognizance after the defendant said his children missed him, and his family was being evicted from their home because they couldn't pay rent.
"I just want to be back with my family," Rey said.
He admitted using excessive punishment.
"I did it. I was just trying punish him for stealing from school," Rey said.
He said he hit the child seven times.
"I struck him with a belt. I was aiming for his butt, and he ran away from me. I hit his back and it left marks," Rey said.
Prosecutor Laurie Trotter said the little boy was struck multiple times.
"He had marks and welts all over his torso. There were allegations by witnesses that he struck and kicked the boy, held him up with his hands around his neck so his feet were dangling, pushed and grabbed him, and called him demeaning names," Trotter said.
Rey said he didn't agree with all the elements of the allegation, but agreed to the plea.
"I was told if I didn't, I was looking at more time away from my children. This would be the fastest way to see my children, by pleading to this," Rey said.
His lawyer, Kris Brown, said Rey agreed to the plea because he was looking at the possibility of being convicted of four felony charges, and that he didn't want to put his children through the ordeal of testifying at a preliminary hearing or trial.
Rey said he was raised in an abusive household and disciplined "with a belt and anything within a hand's reach."
He said he would never treat his children as severely, because he didn't want them to grow up hating him.
"When I was arrested, I didn't know why," he said. "At the time, I didn't think the punishment was excessive. I didn't know I left marks on him."
Gibbons said if Rey is able to post bail, he wants a hearing before the defendant is released.