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Bethany man arrested after allegedly beating teenage girl for kissing a boy

Derek Leonard

BETHANY, Okla. – Bethany police are investigating allegations of abuse after they say a relative went too far disciplining a teenage girl.

When a 15-year-old at Bethany High School was caught kissing a boy at school, she was in big trouble with a relative, 42-year-old Derek Leonard.

The girl told police that when he got home from work, he became very upset about the situation.

He then took his belt off and began hitting her with it.

What allegedly started as a spanking took a turn for the worse.

According to court documents, she said he was very upset and out of control.

The girl’s mother even said the man was getting out of hand.

She and her son finally had to intervene and take the belt away from Leonard.

The next day at school, teachers noticed welts on her arm and bruises down her legs.

That sent officers to Leonard’s home, where he told them he was upset because the teen was kissing a boy.

Bethany Park, a neighbor, says, “That’s kind of a normal thing for, especially a 15 or 16-year-old.”

Park knows it’s easy for discipline to get out of control.

Park said, “Take a minute and say, ‘Before I take action, I need to make sure I’m in a good emotional state, in a stable place to actually think logically and reasonably about the situation.”

She also commends the teachers who had the courage to speak up.

She said, “There are teachers that care enough to be involved on that level and attentive enough to the kids.”

Leonard was arrested last week and is facing misdemeanor domestic abuse charges.


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