The account the middle school girl gave Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies Thursday describes her father as a violent man who has beaten the girl and her mother repeatedly, once holding a gun to her mother’s head, of a half-dozen whippings the girl has endured, of a mother too fearful to intervene, and of the girl learning defensive tactics–from her father–so she could protect herself and her mother from him.
“She commonly hides any physical injuries she has by wearing clothing over it,” a sheriff’s report states in reference to the girl.
The girl did not report the abuse. She had gone to school in Palm Coast with visible injuries. School staff are required by law to intervene and alert authorities if they suspect a case of child abuse. They did, alerting the Department of Children and Families, one of whose officers interviewed the child. That, in turn, led the DCF official to alert the Sheriff’s Office.
Because of the circumstances, sheriff’s detectives determined that the best course of action was to intercept the girl’s school bus at a safe location, where detectives and a DCF official met the girl and took her to be interviewed.
By Thursday evening, Brian Leonard Rock Jr., a 36-year-old resident of Spruce Street in Bunnell’s Mondex, also known as Daytona North, was arrested on a felony child abuse charge and booked at the Flagler County jail on $10,000 bond, where he remained this morning.
The incident that precipitated Rock’s arrest took place Wednesday evening. According to the girl’s account to deputies, he and her mother had gone to dinner, leaving the girl at home with her 13-year-old brother. She had instructions to feed and water the docks and chickens on the property. She did so before her parents returned between 10 and 11 p.m. But her father claimed she’d not completed the work to his satisfaction. “He then confronted her in the kitchen and grabbed her left arm with one of his hands and the front of her neck with the other,” the report states. “She stated he then shoved her out the door of the residence almost causing her to fall and he slammed the door shut.” Her mother was initially another room, as was her brother, but her mother came out to see him shoving their daughter out the door. She was eventually led back into the house.
Asked when she’d last been physically assaulted, the girl told a deputy that Rock had whipped her with a horse whip about two weeks earlier. She had supposedly done something wrong. She could not remember what. She was in the yard. “He just wacked me with the whip,” she said. She still bore the marks of the whipping on her body, and displayed them to authorities–a red mark on her forearm that appeared to be healing, another one on her abdomen “consistent with being struck by a whip,” the sheriff’s report states.
Rock, the girl reported, drinks on a regular basis, gets angry when he drinks, and gets angrier and more violent still when his family members report abuse to the Department of Children and Families, and show up at the house, as DCF and the Sheriff’s Office have in the past. Last September, when the girl was 14, she’d written an email to her teacher saying Rock was very abusive toward her mother. “He just sits in bed and drinks beer allllllll day,” the girl had written, and at one point pulled a gun on them, according to a sheriff’s report from that time. The teacher immediately reported the incident to DCF. It’s not clear how DCF proceeded. Sheriff’s deputies visited the residence, but no arrests were made at the time.
The girl on Thursday recounted that her father had numerous firearms, one of which he’d held against her mother’s head, and that her younger brother had once witnessed him whipping his sister. “She hadn’t disclosed to her mother the most recent time that her father used the whip against her,” the report states. “Her mother is too afraid of [Rock] to intervene.”
The couple have never married, but live as a family unit. After describing to deputies how she had her father teach her defensive tactics so she could execute them against him, she said she’d become accustomed to the violence and how to hide its evidence on her person.
When deputies went to the Spruce Street residence, Rock acknowledged grabbing his daughter to “redirect” her outside the house the previous night, but denied using a whip against her. Deputies retrieved the whip from one of the children’s bedrooms.
If Rock posts bond, pending trial proceedings, he is under a no-contact order extending to the girl, her brother and their mother. He is barred from consuming alcohol or illegal drugs and required to submit to urinalysis. He is not required to surrender his firearms.