SPRING HILL — Hernando County authorities now say two adults — not one — took part in a horrific child abuse case the sheriff calls "incarceration with torture."
Anton Angelo, 45, is charged with aggravated child abuse and false imprisonment of a 16-year-old boy. Sheriff's deputies led him in handcuffs from a home on Whitmarsh Street late Thursday as reporters and neighbors watched from the street corner.
Angelo is the live-in b oyfriend of Tai-Ling Gigliotti, 50, whose arrest Tuesday started to unravel an awful tale.
The beatings started more than three years ago, the boy told authorities, and for the past 15 months he was locked in a bathroom at night and whenever his adoptive mother and Angelo left the house.
With Angelo's arrest, new details emerged about the worst beating, which occurred Sunday and led to his escape through a thicket of trees to a neighbor's house across the street.
It started after Gigliotti and Angelo discovered that he had used a piece from his clarinet to escape out a barricaded window in the bathroom. They also accused him of stealing the keys to a family Mercedes, where he liked to go and listen to classical music.
On Sunday, he told authorities, he could hear them outside re-securing plywood over the window. Then, he said, they made him strip and beat him with piece of wood that was 3 feet long and 1 inch square.
The boy grabbed at the wood only after he couldn't stand the pain any longer, according to the arrest report. Angelo took the wood into another room, the report says, while Gigliotti taped the boy's hands and lashed him with a metal-tipped hose.
The beating caused bruises and cuts to the boy's back, buttocks, hands and arms, authorities say. He also has a broken right arm from a previous attack.
He is now in state care.
Authorities said they found five well-fed cats and dogs inside the home. They said they charged Angelo after learning that he regularly led the boy into the bathroom and locked him inside. The preliminary investigation does not indicate that he ever beat the boy.
A friend of the boy, Daniel Campbell, 16, said he knew him from seventh and eighth grades at Powell Middle School. He said the boy once told him he couldn't have a computer and wasn't allowed to watch television. But he was a jokester who would shoot paper wads with rubber bands in the hallways. He smiled a lot at school. After school, however, when the bus got close to his home, Campbell said, the boy always got more serious.
Campbell hadn't seen the boy in more than a year. He assumed he had moved away. "It was odd that he left without telling anyone," he said.
Angelo had no comment as he was led from the home Thursday. An attorney for Gigliotti did not return calls seeking comment.
What's left, still, are questions.
The Sheriff's Office said the boy hasn't attended school for the past two years. How did that happen? Why didn't anybody notice? Why didn't anybody follow up?
"I know the district has reviewed its records in connection with the student," School Board attorney J. Paul Carland said Thursday. He said the state Department of Children and Families had been in contact with the School Board.
Another question: The boy weighed only 111 pounds. But he's 16. Why didn't he flee sooner?
"Kids who have been abused and abandoned frequently have this tremendous fear of further abandonment," University of New Hampshire child abuse expert David Finkelhor said Thursday.
The boy was adopted when he was 4 and brought to the United States from Taiwan.
"It is something that makes them vulnerable to further abuse,'' Finkelhor said. "They're willing to put up with just about anything to feel like they have a home and someone to take care of them.''
Richard Nugent, the Hernando sheriff, termed it "psychological warfare."
A third question: Why was Gigliotti's bail set at $15,000? That allowed her to post bail after her arrest — much to Nugent's disappointment.
Circuit Judge Jack Springstead set the bail in accordance with a standing judicial order. He said he handled the case like any other. But Chief Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Sr., with more details about the case available, set Angelo's bail at $50,000. Angelo was still in the county jail Thursday night.
Gigliotti is the widow of famed Philadelphia Orchestra clarinetist Anthony Gigliotti, who died in 2001. She moved here in 2004 and is the owner of Gigliotti Music shop in Brooksville and 1Stop Clarinet & Sax Shop in Spring Hill.
The Gigliotti shop is a storefront in a rundown business plaza that includes the local probation and parole office. The 1Stop shop is only a post office box in a Postal Plus in the corner of a strip center between a pet store and a Walgreens.
Gigliotti and Angelo have lived together for eight years, the arrest report says.
On Thursday afternoon, neighbors on Whitmarsh Street milled about, discussing the case. Some of them said they used to see the boy working in the yard and pulling weeds.
"But those people kept to themselves pretty much," Jamie Loghry said.
A gold Mercedes was parked in Gigliotti's driveway. The door was closed. The blinds were drawn. There was no answer to many knocks.
Stuck on the door was the business card of a child protective investigator from the Department of Children and Families.
The card had her name and e-mail address and her phone numbers — and also a message written in blue ballpoint pen.
Staff writers Tom Marshall and Logan Neill and staff researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. John Frank can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 754-6114. Michael Kruse can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8751.