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Utah man charged with 'Operation Afghanistan' child abuse

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Posted - Aug 10th, 2018 @ 4:43pm

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake man is facing child abuse charges after prosecutors say he abused a young boy using something he called "Operation Afghanistan."

Jason Potapenko, 36, was charged Friday in 3rd District Court with two counts of child abuse, one a second-degree felony and the other a class A misdemeanor.

In December, a 7-year-old boy was taking a shower when Potapenko came in and "struck (the boy's) buttock so hard that it caused him to fall in the bathtub," the charges state.

Potapenko was the live-in boyfriend of the boy's mother. She came running into the bathroom to find her son "curled up in the tub crying with Potapenko standing over him," according to the charges.

He claimed he "tapped" the boy for "mistrust of trying to sneak a book to school," the charges state. The mother said she had warned Potapenko about spanking the boy in the past.

The mother also told police that a year ago she walked into the garage "in the middle of the night," and found her son's hands "tied to two poles with lights on them and that the lights were pointed at (the boy). (She) also stated that there was loud music playing and that Potapenko was striking (the boy) with a paddle," the charges state.

When asked what was going on, "Potapenko said that he called this 'Operation Afghanistan,'" according to court documents.

Pat Reavy

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