An Oak Hill man was arrested Thursday for child abuse and battery after allegedly hitting two children during an argument.
After allegedly getting into a fight with two girls who were in his care, Jeffrey Cleaves faced a Volusia County judge Friday afternoon. Bond was set at $5,000. The judge also ordered him to have no contact with the children, ages 15 and 12. Cleaves, 53, was told he could go back to his home in Oak Hill one time to get his belongings before returning to the Volusia County Jail.
Investigators said Cleaves slapped the 12-year-old girl in the back of the head, when he thought she was talking back to him. They said that when the teenager intervened, Cleaves pulled her hair, smacked her and they fell to the floor fighting.
A Sheriff's Office spokesman added that when deputies arrested Cleaves, he told them he could discipline the children any way he wants, as long as he does not leave bruises.
FOX 35 news spoke with the wife of Cleaves at the jail on Friday afternoon. She said the 15-year-old is her daughter and the other girl is her niece. She said the couple has a 4-year-old son together. She also added that her husband has not been arrested in the seven years she has known him, and he is normally playful with the children, who are presently staying with her.