Sheriff: UGA professor beat special needs son

- A father and University of Georgia professor is facing multiple charges after the Oconee County Sheriff said the man repeatedly slapped and punched his son with autism. 

UGA History professor Robert Antonio Pratt, 59, faces charges of family violence simple battery and exploiting/inflicting pain on a disabled person, according to a warrant from Oconee County. Pratt faces $10,000 in bond.

A video released by Sheriff Scott Berry shows the 20-year-old son inside a room at Oconee County High School, where the young man is a student. Investigators told FOX 5, the young man had a behavioral episode and was confined to a room while supervised, with a school camera capturing the events that followed. When the young man's father came to the room. deputies said the son was compliant and sitting on the floor when the father confronted him.

Deputies said in the warrant Pratt "did knowingly and willfully inflict physical pain upon a disabled adult by repeatedly slapping and punching the victim."

The video clip shows more than 20 strikes.

Sheriff Berry said after deputies obtained the video and warrants for Pratt, they went to the UGA campus and with help from UGA Police, took Pratt into custody.

Sheriff Berry released the following statement about the incident:

"Children with special needs can present special challenges for families. However, they must and will be protected from attack and assault by family members or others. The Office of the Sheriff will always protect those who cannot protect themselves."

On UGA's website, a bio for Pratt lists the professor as specializing in research and publications surrounding civil rights, African American history, and desegregation.

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