A man accused of spanking a 5-year-old boy so severely that the child developed scabs on his buttocks was arrested Friday. Steven G. Gionti, 21, of Crystal River is charged with aggravated child abuse and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The child abuse claim was investigated by a Department of Children and Families case worker, who gave sheriff's deputies photos showing the injuries. Gionti is accused of punching the boy in the face and spanking him repeatedly. Sheriff's deputies say they found marijuana and a pipe at Gionti's home when they questioned him. Gionti was being held at the Citrus County Jail in lieu of $11,000 bail.
Crystal River man, 20, faces sex charge
A Crystal River man was arrested Friday after being accused of forcing a 14-year-old girl to have sex with him in an alley behind a motel. The report says 20-year-old Kirk Wilfred Cooper cornered the girl and told her she would not get hurt if she took off her clothes. Police reports say Cooper admitted he had sex with the girl. Cooper was charged with committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child. He was held at the Citrus County jail.