A Pennsylvania man allegedly wanted to scare his son out of taking up a dangerous lifestyle, but the father and five of his friends, who are guards at a juvenile detention center, could be the ones who end up doing jail time.
Allegheny County police issued an arrest warrant for Anthony Donald, 37, of Penn Hills, and the five guards from the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, on charges including false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, official oppression, simple assault and conspiracy.
Three of the guards surrendered to police Thursday morning in connection with injuries suffered by the 13-year-old boy over the weekend.
Donald's son told police he was harassed for about an hour and physically assaulted after his father turned him over to the guards on Sunday for a "scared straight" attempt.
"It's alleged that the child care workers, with varying degrees of culpability, assaulted the young juvenile and held him in a room against his will," Allegheny County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said.
Upon the boy's release, his mother took him to a hospital because he complained of pains.
Police said the guards apparently agreed to take the boy inside the center as a favor to Donald, who wanted to persuade him against a potentially harmful lifestyle.
The center can't accept children without a court order, and Donald's son has never been arrested, police said.
Celeste Whiteford, an attorney for some of the guards, told ABC News affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh on Thursday that she was not yet familiar enough with the charges to comment.
County police said the five accused Shuman employees have been suspended while an internal investigation is conducted. Officials at the juvenile detention center declined to comment.
The incident was sparked after the boy got into some trouble at school.
"My father tried to give me a little bit of scare tactics, but he didn't know it was going to be that serious," the boy told KDKA-TV of Pittsburgh. "He just thought it was going to be a little bit of counseling."
But the "counseling" allegedly got out of hand. The boy said one of the guards took off his pants, others hit him in the chest and choked him, and they forced him to clean a toilet and a sink.
Donald, who is separated from the boy's mother but shares custody with her, said he did not mean for the guards to injure his son, according to a report from The Associated Press.