Black Earth man gets year in prison for beating, emotionally abusing his children


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Dane County Circuit Judge Sarah O'Brien said John Caminiti, 45,
doesn't comprehend "the depth of his abuse" of his children,
despite apologies to the children and promises never to hit them

A Black Earth father who followed the teachings of his church
pastor brother by beating and emotionally abusing his own children
was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday.

Caminiti belongs to the Aleitheia Bible Church in Black Earth,
which is led by his brother, Phil Caminiti, 54. Eight people
associated with the church have been charged with child abuse for
their use of corporal punishment advocated by Phil Caminiti in his
role as the church's leader.

John Caminiti received a year in prison and seven years of extended
supervision for causing mental abuse. Caminiti was accused of
"shunning" a teenage son, confining him to his bedroom for a month
for having feelings that the boy described as pressure and

By not being in control of his emotions, Caminiti told authorities,
the boy was being selfish, and selfishness is a sin.

O'Brien also sentenced Caminiti to concurrent eight-year terms of
probation for striking two of his other children with wooden dowels
for being disobedient or "grumpy."

Caminiti will not be allowed to have contact with his children
while in prison, and while on probation his contact with them will
be restricted, O'Brien said.

His lawyer, Daniel Stein, argued that taking Caminiti out of his
children's lives would be devastating to them. But Dr. Anna Salter,
a clinical psychologist and child abuse expert, testified that she
believes Caminiti would continue controlling them and hindering
their emotional development if not separated from them.

In court, Caminiti said he was thankful that authorities, including
Dane County Human Services, have become involved in teaching him
how to become a better father.

But O'Brien said the services that the family is receiving are not
enough to convince her that Caminiti will change if he is allowed
to remain with his family.

"The service the family is getting is like putting a Band-Aid on a
cancer," O'Brien said. "It's not sufficient to undo what he's done
to these children."

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