A 17-year-old high school student was forced by her aunt to kneel on a metal cheese grater for hours at a time, Boynton Beach police said.
According to an arrest report, Yolanda Jean-Baptiste, 36, imposed brutal punishments on her niece for skipping school.
Police officers learned of the alleged abuse on Tuesday in a meeting with a case worker with the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Jean-Baptiste also beat and used a belt on the girl and threatened to poke her eyes out if she called police, the arrest report said.
Officers met with the girl at her school on Tuesday. She told police that Jean-Baptiste beat her every day because she had missed classes over 10 times during the semester. The girl said she was forced to kneel on the metal cheese grater for six hours after her aunt received a letter from her school about the girl’s attendance.
The girl also said she was made to kneel on the grater for three hours on Saturday and for five hours on Monday.
The girl’s knees were discolored and covered in bruises and she had contusions on her upper legs, police said.
Interviewed by police, Jean-Baptiste said she had been taking care of the girl since June 2012. She denied the cheese grater and belt allegations but said she has been disciplining the girl by making her kneel on the tile floor in the living room for two hours every day.
Jean-Baptiste also said she would sometimes slap the girl hard on her buttocks and arms “because she sometimes gets stressed out from dealing with her.”
Asked about the girl’s injuries, the aunt said she didn’t know how the girl got them.
Jean-Baptiste was arrested on a charge of child abuse Tuesday afternoon. She was held at the Palm Beach County Jail until her release early Wednesday on a $3,000 bond.
The girl was placed in the custody of the aunt’s boyfriend with the approval of the Department of Children and Families, police said.