A registered sex offender was arrested last week in Murfreesboro on charges he abused a five-year-old boy, kicking him so hard the boy suffered multiple internal injuries.
The boy's mother was also charged for not reporting the incident to police or taking her son to the hospital.
It was days later before police arrested John David “JD” Lotts Jr. on one count of aggravated child abuse. He later told detectives he is member of Church of Satan and seemed proud of that fact.
According to the Murfreesboro police arrest report, the Department of Children's Services was having trouble locating the boy and contacted Murfreesboro police, who found the youth at his mother's home on Williowbrooke Drive last Tuesday.
Lotts, a registered sex offender, was also in the home.
The boy had multiple injuries on his face and mittens over his hands. When the mittens were removed, officers found injuries on the back of his hands.
When asked what happened, the boy replied, “I am not allowed to say.”
The youth was transported to Middle Tennessee Medical Center and later to Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt due to the severity of his injuries.
Doctors found several internal injuries including lacerations to both his liver and kidneys and allege the injuries occurred on multiple instances.
Associate Chief of Staff at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Dr. Paul Hain told Nashville's News 2 in severe child abuse cases the abuse is often much worse than meets the eye.
“The tip of the iceberg is usually what you see. It's often much worse,” he said, adding, “You're seeing children with unexplained injuries, injuries that kids don't want to talk about, if they seem ashamed of, if they're suddenly withdrawn, if they're giving you answered like, ‘I'm not allowed to tell you what that happened', those are very important signs to start to worry about a child being abused.”
During an interview, the boy's mother, Elizabeth Hoagland, told police she found her son lying on the floor, bleeding from his mouth a few days prior.
Hoagland said her son appeared incoherent and when he “came to” he told her Lotts had kicked him, according to the report.
When confronted, Hoagland said Lotts told her he blacked out and didn't know what happened.
Hoagland admitted she was in the wrong for not protecting her son and not seeking medical treatment for him. She was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
Lotts and Hoagland have a young child together although their child is not the five-year-old victim.
Both children are in the custody of a relative.
Lotts remains jailed in Rutherford County on a $175,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court next month.