By: Patti Weaver

(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater man who admitted using unreasonable force on a 5-year-old male relative by hitting him with a military-style canvas belt that left significant bruising has been sentenced to serve one year in the Payne County Jail followed by four years of probation, a court official said.

Matthew Christopher Pullen, 27, was ordered last week to pay $400 restitution, a $960 prosecution fee, a $250 fine, and a $150 victims’ compensation fund assessment, along with providing a DNA sample, the court official said.

Pullen, who had been free on $5,000 bail, reported on June 18 to serve his jail sentence for child abuse, the court official said.

Pullen had been arrested on March 5, 2018, at his rural Stillwater home by Payne County Sheriff’s Deputy David Sloan, court records show.

The boy and his sister were removed from the residence on the order of Payne County Associate District Judge Stephen Kistler and placed in the custody of a couple with Meadows of Hope in Lincoln County, an affidavit said.

The sheriff’s deputy had been called that day to assist a state Department of Human Services worker, who said the boy’s mother saw the spanking and “stated it was bad,” Sloan’s affidavit said.

Photos of the boy’s injuries showed “on the front, side and back of (the boy’s) right leg multiple dark-colored bruises. One area of (the boy’s) right leg that was bruised had two bruises that went approximately halfway around the front, outside and back of (the boy’s) leg, the deputy wrote in his affidavit.

“The bruises that I observed in the photos were not consistent with a discipline spanking,” the deputy wrote in his affidavit.

The boy also had a red mark on his chest and light bruising on the front of his left thigh, the affidavit said.

Asked what type of belt he used, “Pullen lifted his sweatshirt and stated ‘this one that I’m wearing,'” a military-style canvas belt, often worn with an Army combat uniform, the affidavit said.

“I informed Pullen I wore a similar-style belt and could not see how he could cause that much bruising unless he was using excessive force,” while hitting the boy, the deputy wrote in his affidavit.