A California pastor and two of his parishioners admitted to torturing a 13-year-old boy at a church-run group home in an attempt to "scare" him straight.
Lonny Remmers, 56, admitted to torturing the teen during a Bible study session. Remmers, the head of Hart Worship Community Church in the small town of Corona, ordered two men, Nicholas Craig, 24, and Darryll Jeter Jr., 30, to “scare” the boy straight because he was acting up. The boy was then driven to a remote area, beaten and forced to dig his own grave, according to court documents.
He was forced into the grave, while men threw dirt on him as if they would bury him alive. They then removed him from the hole, took him the home, allowed him to shower, and then rubbed salt into his wounds, the documents said.
They also tied him down and sprayed mace in his face, which caused his nose to bleed.
The next day the torture continued when they twisted the boy's nipples with pliers in front of a dozen other men.
The three men pleaded guilty Monday to assault with a deadly weapon, inflicting corporal injury on a child and making criminal threats. They avoided a kidnapping charge by pleading guilty, the New York Daily News reports.
Remmers is expected to be sentenced to two years in prison. Craig and Jeter were given one year of home confinement and three years of probation.
The boy was allegedly brought to Remmer’s church, which has 15 to 20 members, by his mother. His mother and sister are both church members. The boy, who was not identified, had been confined to a men’s home as a disciplinary action.
Remmers' sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26.