SLIDELL, La. (TCD) -- A 60-year-old pastor and former "Survivor" contestant was recently charged after allegedly taping three 13-year-old boys’ mouths shut.
According to the Slidell Police Department, in late March, authorities received a complaint of potential child abuse at Lakeside Christian School. Police say pastor and headmaster John Raymond disciplined multiple students by taping their mouths shut.
According to police, detectives interviewed students at the Children’s Advocacy Center –– Hope House, and parents and faculty from Lakeside Christian School. From the conducted interviews, authorities reportedly learned that on March 18, multiple students were told to leave class due to their talking.
Raymond allegedly got angry with the students and instructed them to go to his office. Police say Raymond sealed the students’ mouths by wrapping tape around their heads. The students were reportedly sent back to class with the tape around their mouths, and a school administrator removed the tape using scissors.
According to police, the students said it was hard to breathe and the removal process was painful.
A warrant was reportedly issued, and Raymond turned himself in several hours later. Police say Raymond was booked into the Slidell City Jail on three counts of cruelty to juveniles "to cause unjustifiable pain or suffering to children under the age of 17."
According to nola.com, Raymond was an active member in the community and served on the Republican State Central Committee and for the Republican Parish Executive Committee. Nola.com reports Raymond ran for a Slidell area House seat but was unsuccessful. He was also reportedly a contestant on the popular reality television show "Survivor."
He added, "I pulled out a roll of clear Scotch packing tape and said, ‘I’m going to give you a choice. We can either go downstairs and call your parents and you can wait in the lobby to be suspended, or you can get tape on your mouth and learn how to be quiet during class.’" According to his statement, the students chose tape. Raymond claimed that he tried to tape their mouths so that they could easily breathe.
In his statement, Raymond claims, "We have a zero-tolerance bully policy at Lakeside. This means students cannot bully each other or bully the teachers. We are serious about protecting both our students and our teachers."