Louisiana pastor, Republican Party official John Raymond arrested again on juvenile cruelty charge
A Louisiana pastor and headmaster of a Christian school who is also a member of the sate Republican Party governing board has been arrested for a second time on juvenile cruelty charges.
John Raymond, 60, pastor of New Horizon Church in Slidell and founder of Lakeside Christian Academy, is an elected member of the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee.
Slidell Police said the new allegations include Raymond holding a 4-year-old boy upside down by his ankles and "whipping his buttocks" and in a separate incident covering the same child's mouth and nose with his hand to stop a "tantrum."
In a press release, police said witnesses reported Raymond's actions prevented the child from breathing "to the point of him going limp." The witness, a staff member, said the child was "out of it and lethargic" and "unable to stand."
Lakeside Christian Academy Principal Buffie Singletary told USA Today Network Tuesday morning that Raymond has taken a leave of absence from the school.
"He is not involved in anything at the school at this point," Singletary said.
USA Today Network is seeking comment from Louisiana Republican Party Chairman Louis Gurvich.
St. Tammany Parish Jail officials said Raymond has been released on a $7,500 bond.
Raymond had previous been arrested by Slidell Police on April 7 and charged with three counts of cruelty to a juvenile after allegedly taping three 13-year-old students' mouths shut with packing tape for talking too much in class.
Raymond said the students were offered a choice between calling their parents to say that they were suspended or having Raymond tape their mouths. He blamed the students for upsetting a teacher.
Police said the investigation is continuing and detectives are interviewing additional witnesses.
Raymond was a "Survivor" contestant in 2002; he was the voted off the island in Thailand.
He has been active in state Republican politics as a member of the Louisiana Republican Party State Central Committee and has unsuccessfully run for the state House of Representatives.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.