Christian school principal arrested for allegedly whipping 4-year-old

A Louisiana Republican official and pastor has quit his job as principal of a Christian school after his second arrest in two months for alleged child cruelty.

John Raymond, pastor of New Horizon Church in Slidell and an elected member of the St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee, was arrested Monday by the Slidell Police Department and charged with second-degree cruelty to minors.

The arrest stems from an incident at Lakeside Christian Academy, a K-12 school he founded and ran. Raymond is accused of repeatedly abusing a 4-year-old kindergarten student, including holding him upside down by the ankles and repeatedly whipping him on the buttocks.

The school sent a letter to parents and staff on Monday saying Raymond was taking a voluntary leave, reported.

Last month, Raymond was arrested on three counts of cruelty to minors after he was reported for allegedly taping three students’ mouths as punishment for “talking excessively” the previous month.

Since that arrest, other witnesses have come forward to report other incidents, some dating back to 2017, according to a police department news release.

There have been several reported incidents involving the pre-K student. Police said the child sometimes had “tantrums” where he cried and screamed. To prevent the boy from doing so on one occasion, Raymond allegedly placed his hand over the child’s nose and mouth until it went limp.

Police said a staff member told Raymond to stop after observing that the boy was having difficulty breathing and was unable to stand. In another incident, the child was allegedly dragged on a floor by the ankles after refusing to leave with Raymond.

John Raymond has been arrested twice in two months on charges related to alleged incidents of child cruelty at Lakeside Christian Academy.

Slidell Police Department

Police said their investigation is ongoing as they interview other witnesses related to other allegations against Raymond. He was released on Monday on $7,500 bond.

After the incident last month, Raymond defended himself in a statement on the school’s website. He argued that he had given disruptive students a choice: “We can either come downstairs and call your parents and you can wait in the hall to be suspended, or you can put duct tape over your mouth and learn to keep quiet during class.

“The students all chose duct tape and I removed one piece at a time and carefully placed it over their mouths making sure it didn’t touch their noses or interfere with their breathing. At no time was duct tape wrapped around any student’s head,” he wrote.

Raymond is also a member of the Republican State Central Committee, the governing body of the Louisiana Republican Party. In 2018, he ran unsuccessfully for the Louisiana House of Representatives.


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