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Woman jailed in videotaped child torture

A woman who helped her husband videotape the beating of two children and then gave the tape to police detectives was arrested Wednesday and charged with child abuse, Tampa police said.

Eugenett Houston, 29, was charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse in a case detectives have called torture.

Houston and her husband, Thomas Tillman, 31, used a wet leather belt to beat the two boys, ages 9 and 16, in November, said police Detective Jackie Keene. The 25-minute beating was videotaped and shown to friends and neighbors. Tillman was arrested Tuesday.

The boys are both emotionally disabled. One belongs to Houston and one to Tillman, each from a previous relationship.

Authorities would not say which boy was related to which parent, but a cousin of the 16-year-old said he is Tillman's son. Both boys have been placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

Police became aware of the abuse this month when Houston called police from the Spring of Tampa Bay, a domestic violence shelter, and offered them the tape, Keene said.

"A lot of it was humiliating physical and psychological stuff," said Tampa police Sgt. John Swope. "There was a lot of screaming."

Tillman was arrested March 7, accused of beating Houston, who sought help at the Spring, Keene said. She gave the tape to detectives because she was angry at Tillman, Keene said. She did not expect to be arrested.

The tape shows the two boys stripped of clothing below the waist with their hands and feet bound with rope, police said. The tape was labeled "Family Session."

Tillman made the tape to intimidate the boys and told them they could have it to pass along to their own children, Keene said.

Both boys moved into the house with Houston and Tillman in October, Keene said. They had been in state custody in the past, but authorities would not give details about previous cases.

Tillman and Houston were both in the Hillsborough County Jail late Wednesday on $50,000 bail each.