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Man charged with torture of son

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. &

A man has been charged with torturing his 9-year-old son by keeping him locked in a bedroom for much of the past three years, with a surveillance camera tracking his every move, authorities said today.

The home of Randall Warren Piercy, 41, was like a prison that had cameras in almost every room, with the father monitoring the boy on television and computer screens, Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Lt. Annie Smith said.

During the past three years, the boy has not attended school, received medical attention or had contact with people outside his family, Smith said. The police report said he was home schooled but could not read children's books.

The state Department of Children Families took the boy from the home, sheriff's spokesman Ken Jefferson said.

Relatives told police that the boy was usually allowed to use the bathroom once a day because his father was tea ching him to control his body.

Piercy was arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated child abuse in the torture, malicious punishment and unlawful caging of the boy.

As officers walked him into jail, he said he was wrongly accused and was the victim of a vendetta by his in-laws. He told police he kept the child in the room because he "believed it was in the best interest of the child," Smith said.

He was ordered held on $1 million bond at a court hearing Thursday. It was not known if he had an attorney.

The child's mother, Michelle Piercy, was not charged, but police said they are still investigating her involvement. She told WTLV-TV that her son was not abused.

"We are very protective," she said, adding that the cameras are so his parents can make sure he doesn't hurt himself. She said the boy was hyperactive and was locked in his room at night to prevent him from going outside and getting hurt.

According to a police report, investigators were told Michelle Piercy allowed her husband to make all the decisions regarding the boy. The report said her husband only let her see the boy at certain times and usually for an hour a day.

The case began when an investigator posing as a real estate investor went to the home earlier this month with the boy's paternal grandfather, Dan Boswell, a real estate broker. The undercover officer found the boy in a locked room, sitting on a bed in his underwear. The room smelled faintly of urine, and had a camera mounted on a wall, aimed at the child's bed, according to a report.

A call to the grandfather was not returned. No one answered phone messages left at the Piercy's home and business. The business phone answered as "My Computer Land."