Man Receives 7-Year Sentence For Beating Son

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - A man was sentenced to seven years in prison on Wednesday for beating his son who clogged a washing machine while cleaning his dad's work clothes.

Brook Polen pleaded guilty last month to felonious assault and child endangering for beating his son Stephen, who came to Ohio to live with his father after his mother died.

Brook Polen, 34, of Minerva, decided to try to raise the 13-year-old and develop the bond they never had.

But the boy was beaten so severely that he had to be hospitalized 18 days for dialysis and treatment of a broken ankle, skull injuries and cuts and welts.

Stephen Polen's mother, Donna Gamache, died last July from Hodgkins' disease, which had been in remission since her 20s. She developed pneumonia and died a few days short of her 33rd birthday.

"We thought she had beaten it. It was a shock to me when we found out she had it again," Rodney Raines, Gamache's brother told The Repository. "And it was basically in no time after we found out, she was gone."

After seemingly surviving the disease, the Canton native moved to southeastern California and concentrated on raising her only son.

"She loved Stephen. He was biggest thing in her life. Nobody could say anything bad about him if she was around," Raines said.

He said he wishes he would have tried to get custody of Stephen after his sister died.

Polen took in Stephen and they lived in the basement of his parents' home for only a few months when he was beaten.

Investigators believe Polen used a mallet, a charge he denies.

The boy told social workers he was being punished for clogging the family washer while trying to wash his dad's work clothes.

Stephen has recovered and has been living with relatives in Stark County.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)