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Man accused of savage beating of children

Authorities say Thomas Tillman did more than tie up two children with rope and beat them with a wet leather belt _ he and the children's mother videotaped themselves in the act.

Police said they confiscated a videotape Tuesday showing Tillman, 31, beating two naked, bound children with a wet belt.

He was arrested at 1923 State Way, where authorities say the beating occurred, and charged with two counts aggravated child abuse in the December 1996 incident. He was held in lieu of $50,000 bail Tuesday night.

An arrest affidavit listed a 29-year-old woman as a co-defendant and said a warrant was requested for her arrest. The affidavit did not list the children's ages, and Tampa police spokesman Steve Cole could provide no details Tuesday.

No information was available on how authorities learned of the crime or whether the children were related to Tillman.

Also visible on the tape is the woman wetting the belt in water and looking on while Tillman hit the children, the report said.

Both filmed the beating at the residence, it said.

A woman reached at the home Tuesday night, who identified herself only as Ms. Jackson and a cousin of the children, said she didn't know anything about the abuse, though she had cared for the children.

The children belong to the woman in the video, she said.