A Phoenix father has been arrested for child abuse in connection with numerous alleged acts of violence against his stepchildren.
Police say 38-year-old Rafael Oliver-Mendoza faces 21 counts of child abuse.
He was arrested May 31 at his home near 20th Street and Van Buren.
Mendoza is accused of abusing his three stepchildren, ages 14, 12 and 10, in numerous ways over the past four years. Some of the alleged abuse included reports of putting toothpicks under the kids' fingernails, beating them, burning them, and twisting their genitals with tweezers.
The alleged abuse came to light when the 14-year-old confided in a school counselor. The counselor contacted the Arizona Department of Child Safety.
When police questioned the kids, the young victims recited a litany of abuse incidents.
According to the police report, those alleged incidents included the following:
-"hit with a belt on the palms of their hands"
-"hit on the back with a belt because he moved his hands away'
-"hit her with a red pan on the head"
-"forced to stand in line and [Mezndoza] hits them with a belt"
-would have to walk in a circle and he would hit them with a wire when they would stop"
-"burned [them]... with a lighter on their hands if they wanted a muffin"
-"used tweezers [on their genitals] and twisted them"
-"held [his] head under cold water in the shower and he could not breathe"
-"held a bag over [his] head until he passed out"
-"put a bag over his head and he fainted. When he woke, he saw [suspect] putting toothpicks under his 12-year-old brother's nails"
-"put a staple in his hand fo falling asleep"
-"being hit with a belt, back scratcher, hanger and wire"
According to the police report, "all three victims were told not to tell and were scared."
The three victims have since been removed from the home. Police were not able to interview 16-year-old and a 14-year-old, and they remain in the home.