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Hernando deputies say Spring Hill teen beaten, locked in bathroom for days

SPRING HILL — A Spring Hill woman, the widow of an internationally renowned classical musician, was arrested Tuesday on charges that she has held her teenaged nephew captive in her home for months at a time and savagely beat him with pieces of wood and a metal-tipped hose.

Tailing Han Gigliotti allegedly locked the teen in a bathroom for days at a time and left him naked, bleeding and bound while she went to work, authorities said.

The battered 16-year-old managed to escape the house at 13115 Whitmarsh St. Monday and get to a neighbor's home.

Gigliotti, 50, surrendered Tuesday evening on a warrant charging aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment. The teen is in state custody, deputies said.

Hernando Sheriff Richard Nugent said investigators are also looking into the involvement of Angelo Anton, a real estate agent and music store owner, who also lives at the Gigliotti residence.

"I can't imagine this guy not knowing what went on there," he said.

Although Gigliotti has refused to speak with authorities, they believe she adopted the boy at a young age from her sister, who still lives in Taiwan. Authorities said they were unaware of any prior arrests for Gigliotti.

Authorities said Gigliotti's mistreatment of the boy spanned three years, beginning as removing him from his bedroom and culminating in a violent beating Sunday that broke the teen's arm, cut his face and left bruises along the side of his body, deputies said.

The boy told deputies he was forced to sleep in the hallway or on the bathroom floor, and had not slept in a bed for years. For the past 15 months, he was locked in the bathroom daily and allowed out only when Gigliotti was home. The room's window was boarded over with plywood so he couldn't escape, deputies said.

On Sunday, the woman forced the teen to strip nude, wrapped his hands in packing tape and beat him with a 3-foot block of wood and a metal-tipped water hose, according to a police report.

The weapons cut him on nearly every part of his body, including his head, back, buttocks, shoulder and hands, the report states.

In a news briefing Wednesday morning, Nugent said that lacerations on the boy's buttocks were so bad that "there was no way this young man could even sit down."

A day later, the boy broke down the locked door and escaped to a neighbor's house, where he begged for help.

Deputies searched Gigliotti's house and found the 3-foot-long, 1-inch square wooden stick and the hose, both of which appeared to be stained with blood, according to a police affidavit.

As investigators worked inside the home, Gigliotti was overheard telling someone on a cell phone that "he must have gotten out of the room," the affidavit stated.

Besides the boy's most recent injuries, the affidavit said, medical staffers found scars from old beatings on his body.

Nugent said that interviews with the victim indicated that the abuse stemmed from the family's Taiwanese culture that calls for absolute obedience toward adults by children. The boy told authorities that the beatings had increased in frequency and had become more violent in recent weeks.

Records show that Gigliotti is the widow of renowned musician Anthony Gigliotti, former principal clarinetist for the Philadelphia Orchestra who died in 2001.

Tailing Gigliotti, a clarinetist, is listed as the owner of Gigliotti Music Inc., 20154 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville. The store was closed on Wednesday.

Neighbors said they were unaware of the abuse and had not heard or seen anything out of the ordinary at the residence.

James Johnson, who lives across the street from Gigliotti's home, said he was surprised to hear of her arrest.

"She was always nice to me — talked to me a lot," Johnson said.

He did recall an incident where his grandson's model plane became stuck in a tree on her property, and Gigliotti came outside to scold the boy.

Johnson said he saw the 16-year-old working in Gigliotti's yard a lot, but he never talked to him. He described him as a nice boy who would wave and smile.

Another neighbor, Kim Weaver, said she saw the boy outside frequently, but he was always with Gigliotti. "It seemed like she was real protective of him," Weaver said.

Drew Harwell can be reached at dharwell@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

Hernando deputies say Spring Hill teen beaten, locked in bathroom for days 02/11/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 4:14pm]

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