After two Sheboygan adults at various points confessed to the same offense — spanking a 4-year-old boy and causing severe bruising — child abuse cases are proceeding against both, court records show.
The boy's mother, Nicole Nack, 32, of 712 S. 22nd St., was charged Sept. 5 and has since been bound over for trial and entered a plea of not guilty. Her live-in boyfriend, Gary D. Anderson, 29, was initially charged Oct. 1, but charges were reissued Friday after Judge Timothy Van Akkeren ruled there was not enough evidence to bind him over for trial, said Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Bork.
The boy was allegedly spanked Sept. 3, and at some point he also suffered a facial injury that drew the attention of school officials, according to the nearly identical criminal complaints filed against the couple.
Though both cases are ongoing, District Attorney Joe DeCecco said only one will likely make it to trial.
"It's difficult if not impossible to prosecute two people for the exact same act," he said. "At some point we're going to have to decide whom to believe."
Police began investigating the crime after the boy came to school with a mark on his face and said Anderson — his mother's boyfriend — had struck him. Officers discovered "severe bruising" on the boy's buttocks in addition to the facial mark.
Nack initially told police she "went crazy" and struck the boy after she found him playing with matches, adding, "I know how people can kill their kids." The boy had previously tried to set fires in or around the house.
But in late September, Anderson told his probation agent he was responsible, and Nack changed her story to agree with him. She said she was not "in the right frame of mind" initially and had taken the blame because she would get in less trouble than Anderson, a convicted felon.
Anderson admitted spanking the boy's bare bottom three times with his hand, but said he had control of his emotions at the time. He denied hitting the boy in the face.