A Louisiana pastor and headmaster of a Christian school who is also a member of the state Republican Party governing board has been arrested for a second time on juvenile cruelty charges.
John Raymond, 60, pastor of New Horizon Church in Slidell and founder of Lakeside Christian Academy, is an elected member of the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee.
Slidell Police said the new allegations include Raymond holding a 4-year-old boy upside down by his ankles and “whipping his buttocks” and in a separate incident covering the same child’s mouth and nose with his hand to stop a “tantrum.”
In a press release, police said witnesses reported Raymond’s actions prevented the child from breathing “to the point of him going limp.” The witness, a staff member, said the child was “out of it and lethargic” and “unable to stand.”
Lakeside Christian Academy Principal Buffie Singletary told USA Today Network Tuesday morning that Raymond has taken a leave of absence from the school.
“He is not involved in anything at the school at this point,” Singletary said.
USA Today Network is seeking comment from Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich.
St. Tammany Parish Jail officials said Raymond has been released on a $7,500 bond.
Raymond had previously been arrested by Slidell Police on April 7 and charged with three counts of cruelty to a juvenile after allegedly taping three 13-year-old students’ mouths shut with packing tape for talking too much in class.