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BRITT | A Mason City man is accused of spanking a 4-year-old child with a belt and causing severe bruising this winter in Britt.

Charles Eugene Pennington, 33, is charged with felony child endangerment resulting in bodily injury.

The Department of Human Services initiated an investigation on March 13 after it was contacted about severe bruising on the 4-year-old's buttocks, lower back and upper legs, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Britt Police Department. 

The child, who was in Pennington's custody and care, told DHS the bruises were the result of being “spanked with a belt,” which was confirmed by other children in the household who said the punishment for “getting in trouble” was “getting whooped with the belt,” court documents state. 

Police said the red bruises on the child’s lower back were consistent with being spanked with a belt. The bruises on the child's buttocks and legs were black, blue and purple, according to court documents. 

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The Garner Police Department arrested Pennington on a warrant May 27. He was booked into the Winnebago County Jail and released under supervision of the Department of Correctional Services. 

A no-contact order issued May 27 bars Pennington from seeing or speaking to the child. 

Pennington is scheduled to appear June 14 in Hancock County District Court. 

The maximum sentence for felony child endangerment resulting in bodily injury is five years in prison and a $7,500 fine. 

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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