A Fort Lauderdale father is facing charges after police say his three children were beaten so badly they ran away from home to escape.
Branden Travis Lee, 32, was arrested Monday on two counts aggravated child abuse, three counts of child abuse without great bodily harm and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a child, according to a Fort Lauderdale Police arrest affidavit.
The affidavit says the kids' stepmom reported them missing on Nov. 28 after they ran away from home. They were eventually found at a relative's home in Opa-locka but the children had various marks and scars that were consistent with abuse, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, the children said Lee would punch and slap them in the face. One child said they were beaten because they "did not sweep the floor correctly" and another child said they were beaten for getting a bad grade at school and leaving classes, the affidavit said.
The children "told police that they ran away because they were 'tired of getting whoopings,'" the affidavit said. They said their father's beatings even caused them to bleed in one instance.
The kids also described drug use in their presence and said Lee smoked weed in their home, the affidavit said.
A nurse for a child protective team did a physical examination of the children and found "all three children were 'positive' for physical abuse, family violence, mental injury, and substance abuse," the affidavit said.
The affidavit said Lee denied the allegations of abuse. The children were placed in foster care earlier this month.
Lee appeared in court Tuesday where he was ordered held on $30,500 bond and told to stay away from the children. Records showed Lee is no stranger to the law, with previous arrests for neglecting a child as well as domestic violence charges stemming back to 2006.