Pastor Martin Burns of the Winamac Nazarene Church is facing charges after a video surfaced allegedly showing him kneeling on a 4-year-old boy’s chest at a church day care center, Kingdom Kids Preschool Daycare. The video shows Burns with one child on his shoulders while another clings to his leg. He tries to walk, but ends up kneeling on the boy’s chest after telling him to let go. Burns continues to kneel on the boy for seven seconds, during which the child appears distressed. The incident reportedly took place on September 8th. The video became public when the boy’s mother, an employee at the daycare, recorded the surveillance footage with her cellphone.
The boy’s mother reported her son was still upset when he came home, with his chest red. She claimed Burns said he acted out of fear of dropping the child he was carrying. Burns later told police he used just enough pressure to hold the boy down. The incident was not initially reported to the higher authorities at the church, but to an official at the Valparaiso location.
Jesse Harper is the defense attorney representing Burns. Harper stated, “We have a different opinion from the state on what this video shows and we are disappointed that Martin has been charged in this matter.” He further added that Burns maintains his innocence, was cooperative with the police, and they are committed to presenting a strong defense for him. Burns faces charges of felony battery to a person less than 14 years of age and misdemeanor battery resulting in bodily injury.