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Verndale man charged with assault for belt-lashing

A Verndale man was charged Nov. 23 in Wadena County District Court with felony domestic assault and felony fifth-degree assault for allegedly beating a boy he was babysitting with a belt.

On Sept. 18, the boy's mother noticed bruises on the 7-year-old's body and took photographs on her cellular phone, court documents said. On Sept. 21, the boy described to a social worker how Luke Joseph Nelson, 33, of Verndale, had taken the boy's pants and underwear off and gave him about 10 lashes with his belt.

On Oct. 4, a deputy and a social worker met with Nelson, who said he and the boy were wrestling and "rough-housing" and that he had "swatted" him two times with his belt for allegedly lying.

Nelson has two previous domestic violence convictions from June 2008, one from August 2008 and one from June 2006.

His first court appearance was set for Dec. 20.