Racine man charged with child abuse after school staff steps in

RACINE, Wis. — A Racine man is facing felony child abuse charges after prosecutors say he abused his 5-year-old stepson. A human services worker and school staff noticed signs of abuse and stepped in.

According to a criminal complaint, officers were dispatched to Jerstad Elementary School in Racine for a report of child abuse on Tuesday. A human services worker told an officer the 5-year-old boy had multiple bruises, specifically on his forehead and hip. The worker said the boy told him his “dad,” later identified as 37-year-old Adam S. Randall, “hit him with a belt as punishment.” The complaint says the boy said he was also “head-butted” and that it has happened twice before.

School staff told officers that on Thursday, Jan. 19, the boy was caught stealing items from the school and his mother was informed. The complaint says the boy was not at school the next day.

The human services worker called the boy’s mother with officers present. The complaint says while the situation was being explained, the mother became “upset and defensive” and hung up the phone.

At the end of the day, the mother came to pick up the boy from school. While the human services worker spoke with her, the complaint says she became “evasive and defensive.” She denied seeing the “massive bruise” on her son’s hip. However, she did acknowledge the boy’s head injury came from Randall’s head-butting. The mother allegedly said the boy “will go to fight you when you try to spank him” and was told by Randall that “this is what happened when he went to deal with” the boy.

While speaking with an investigator, Randall allegedly said the boy was “acting up and not listening.” The complaint says Randall said he had permission from the boy’s mother to “physically discipline” him as his “step-father.” Randall claimed to have never hit the child before, and when he took his belt and spanked him, the child began to wrestle him and that is when they bumped heads.

The complaint says when the investigator showed Randall a photo of the boy’s injuries, he responded, “that looks bad!”

Randall’s cash bond was set at $5,000 during his initial appearance in court on Wednesday. He has a preliminary hearing on Feb. 1. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 18 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Randall also has a pending prosecution in Racine County where he plead guilty in October 2021 to possession of a firearm by a felon and disorderly conduct – use of a dangerous weapon, and obstructing. He is set to be sentenced on Feb. 27. He was released on bond in May 2022. Conditions of his bond included no contact with the boy’s mother.

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