Florida Facebook Beating: Woman Accused of Assaulting Son for Having Facebook Page

Police say woman hit son with cable despite suggestion he would harm himself.

August 15, 2011, 11:23 AM

Aug. 15, 2011 — -- A Florida woman, told that her teenage son had posted a message on Facebook suggesting he might harm himself, allegedly beat him with a computer cable because he wasn't supposed to be on Facebook in the first place, police said.

The woman, 62-year-old Althea Ricketts of Apopka, Fla., was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse. The name and age of her son were not made public.

Officer Josean Velez, who handled the case, said Ricketts volunteered that she had hit her son.

"Althea stated to me that hitting a child with a cable is a common way of disciplining kids where she comes from," Velez said.

According to police, an acquaintance called Ricketts Friday night to tell her about an upsetting post on her son's Facebook page. Police say Ricketts called back, said she had hit her son and that he had run off.

The police report, provided to ABC News, said the boy had updated his Facebook status Friday night to say, "I broke a glass on purpose and kept a piece to play with it later." A neighbor said the boy had a history of cutting himself, and called his mother after receiving a text message from a church friend about his Facebook status.

The neighbor said Ricketts hit her son with a black computer cable, raising red welts on his arms, according to the police report. Police were called after the boy ran to a friend's house and said he was afraid he would be hit again if he went home.

Another neighbor, according to police, quoted Ricketts as saying the boy "deserved everything he got for lying to her." The neighbor answered, "There are ways to discipline a child without bruising them up," according to the police report.

A call to the Ricketts' home was not answered. Ricketts was released without bond Sunday from the Orange County Jail. Pending trial, she was ordered not to have contact with her son.

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