CHICAGO (CBS) — A 9-year-old boy was whipped at school a year and a half ago, and two women have gone to trial – one of them his teacher.
The CBS 2 Investigators first broke the story about the beating of then-9-year-old Jomaury Champ.
CBS 2’s Chris Tye was in court on Thursday, as the fifth-grader relived his horrific day.
Jomaury cannot remember how many times he was hit in the middle of that school day in September 2018. He does remember loudly wailing as the lashes kept coming.
Jomaury told CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini that his nightmare began in the hallway at George Tilton Elementary School, at 223 N. Keeler Ave. in the West Garfield Park neighborhood – where his teacher, Kristen Haynes, and Juanita Tyler, a distant relative he did not know, grabbed him.
He said the women each grabbed his arms and yelled at him and Tyler struck him.
“I tried to say, ‘What did I do?’ And she just hit me in my lip. Then my teacher, she said, ‘You know what you did.’ And then the lady hit me in my lip again,” said Jomaury. He said months later that he did not know what the teacher said he did wrong.
He said he was taken into the bathroom, where his teacher left him alone with Tyler and returned to her class.
“The lady, she told me to pull down my pants, but I didn’t. So she got mad, and she started whacking me with the two belts,” Jomaury said.
He said his screams for help went unanswered.
“She told me again, pull down my pants and I didn’t,” Jomaury said. “The two belts were inside her hand. She was holding the tip of where the belt buckle was. That’s when she started whacking me. I started screaming and crying.”
Jomaury said the whipping later continued in a hallway outside her classroom.
His parents say Tyler hit their son so hard on his legs and back, there were welts and broken skin.
As a result of the beating, Jomaury was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and has spent most of his school time in a special program at Garfield Park Hospital.
On Thursday, Jomaury wept as he told the story to a judge.
Jomaury’s family said in February of last year that they believed Haynes was upset with Jomaury’s behavior, so she contacted Tyler to come to the school to discipline him. The women have a long history together. Tyler said they were childhood friends and grew up together. Tyler also is Jomaury’s great-aunt. Jomaury’s father said Tyler is estranged from his family. It is not known exactly how Tyler was able to enter the school.
After he was whipped, Jomaury said Tyler brought him back to the classroom.
“She got in my face and said, “You respect [Haynes] because we grew up together.’ She gave my teacher back the belts and she left,” Jomaury said.
Tyler vehemently denied the allegations to CBS 2, telling Savini, “I don’t give a (expletive) what no mother(expletive) body said.”
On Thursday, the joint bench trial for Haynes and Tyler was in its second day. If convicted, the two could go to jail for almost a year on battery charges.
In court Thursday, Jomaury and his sister both wept recalling that day, while the two friends on trial sat next to each other emotionless.
And while they are the ones who are on trial, Jomaury’s family said the jury is already back on the institution charged with keeping kids safe.
“I point the finger at CPS, because school is safe haven for kids, and kids are supposed to be protected no matter what,” said Jomaury’s mother, Asia Gaines.
Tye asked Haynes if she had any reaction to Jomaury’s testimony as he cried on the witness stand. She did not answer Tye’s question.
Haynes is teacher is off the job pending an investigation.