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Mother faces felony charges after online video shows 3-year-old son struck, berated for not knowing ABCs

Updated: January 15, 2014 6:15AM

GARY— The mother of a 3-year-old boy who police said physically and verbally abused him because he couldn’t repeat the alphabet has been charged with two felonies.

Police learned of the incident, which allegedly occurred in November at Rosena Small’s apartment, after her ex-boyfriend posted five videos on YouTube on Wednesday. The videos were viewed by police and by the Post-Tribune but have since been taken down.

Small, 25, of 1812 W. 5th Ave., is charged with neglect of a dependent and battery resulting in bodily injury.

After her arrest at her apartment Wednesday night, Small admitted to Detective Alex Jones that she is the person on the video. She said her ex-boyfriend recorded the incident and posted it on YouTube after they broke up.

“She admitted that she hit the child, but that she didn’t mean to hurt the child,” the probable cause affidavit states.

Hours after police obtained the video, they met a child welfare worker at Small’s apartment. The child has been placed in foster care. Child Protective Services previously investigated the incident, court records state.

The videos showed Small “hit the child with a metal door stopper, hit the child in the face and grab him by the collar,” the probable cause affidavit states.

Small holds up a paper and shouts, “E!F!G!H!” repeatedly demanding that her son say the letters as he cries and coughs.

When he fails to identify the letters on the page, Small uses the door stopper to smash his toys as he screams and cries.

“I observed in the video the child flinching, screaming and crying uncontrollably when Small struck him and threw him across the floor,” Jones states in the court record.

Small is being held at the Lake County Jail.

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