The thuggish pastor of a small Southern California church and two of his parishioners tortured a 13-year-old boy who lived at a church-run group home, savagely beating him, grinding salt into his raw wounds and forcing him to dig his own grave. The pastor, Lonny Remmers, 56, and his two goons even tortured the teen during a group Bible study session, forcing him to sit in front of the others while they twisted his nipples with pliers, court documents show, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The assaults were part of a brutal campaign to "scare" the boy straight after he was moved from one home, where his mother and sister lived, to another allegedly for acting out, the Times reported.
Remmers, Nicholas Craig, 24, and Darryll Jeter Jr., 30, pleaded guilty Monday to charges including inflicting corporal injury on a child, assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats. Remmers, who runs the Hart of Worship Community Church in Corona, was expected to be sentenced to two years in prison. The other two were given a year in home confinement, plus three years of probation.
After getting orders from Remmers to "scare" the boy, Craig and Jeter drove him to a remote area, where they lashed him with a belt and forced him to dig his own grave. The twisted pair then forced the boy to get in the hole as they tossed dirt on him from above, as though they were burying him alive, the documents said.
Later, they returned to the home and the boy took a shower, while Craig and Jeter rubbed salt into the cuts on his back, authorities said. They also tied him down and sprayed mace in his face, causing his nose to bleed, the documents said.
The boy later told police he thrashed so violently, he left the shower spattered with blood, the Times reported. Other members of the home reported seeing the blood the next day.
The torment continued later that night at the Bible study session at Remmers' home, where the men clamped his nipples with pliers in front of about a dozen other men.
Authorities said the sicko pastor claimed the boy needed to be disciplined for "not accepting responsibility for his actions."
The boy's mother had brought him to Remmers' church, which has 15 to 20 members. Corona is in Riverside County, about an hour east of Los Angeles.
The teen hasn't been identified.
By pleading guilty, the men avoided a kidnapping charge, which would have been the most serious against them.
Remmers is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 26.