Child beaten, dad jailed; Steam iron, bamboo cane allegedly used

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Andalusia man was arrested and jailed Tuesday for allegedly using a steam iron and bamboo walking cane to abuse his child.

Lt. Paul Dean said Jerry Cowan, 48, is now being held in the Covington County Jail under a $2 million bond on charges of first-degree domestic violence and aggravated child abuse.

Dean said the APD was first notified of the alleged abuse by a social worker with the Department of Human Resources, and together, they traveled to interview the child at a school within the Andalusia City School system. Dean declined to comment on which school or the age of the child, as to protect the child’s identity.

“Once it was confirmed the child had been abused, it was at that point that we contacted the child’s father – a Mr. Jerry Cowan,” Dean said. “During his interview, he admitted to ‘spanking the child a little too hard.’

“But from the appearance of the child’s injuries, which were all in various stages of healing, it was confirmed that numerous items had been used in the abuse,” he said. “I can say that some of those items used were a steam iron, a small bamboo walking cane and several other items.”

Dean declined to comment on specifics of the abuse, but said, “I think people can figure it out (how the items were used).

“I will say that based on my years of experience as a law enforcement officer and that of everyone involved in this case up to this point, this is by far the absolute worst case of physical abuse that I have ever seen,” he said. “People see the pictures and just gasp.”

Additionally, Drug Task Force agent Tim Stallworth said Cowan faces additional drug-related charges stemming from the initial contact visit with the APD and DHR — two counts of chemical endangerment of a child, second-degree possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Those additional charges brings Cowan’s bond to more than $2.5 million.