03/09/2012 01:27 pm ET

Couple Forced Child To Kneel For Nine Hours A Day, Police Say

Police in Lakeland, Fla., say a couple forced a 13-year-old child to kneel for nine hours a day with his hands behind his back.

Albert Cusson and his wife Nancy admitted to the abuse, but said it didn't hurt the boy and it was punishment for cheating in school, according to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Ledger.

Central Florida News 13 reports that Albert Cusson was the boy's grandfather.

The couple allegedly fed the child a "protein shake" consisting of meat and vegetables, but did not allow him to eat or drink anything else, according to the Ledger. If he moved from his kneeling position, the boy was beaten with a stick. After ten days, the boy ran away from home and told a neighbor about the abuse. That's when authorities got involved, arresting the couple and charging them with aggravated child abuse.

The Cussons also had access to a 9-year-old girl who allegedly witnessed the abuse and was also forced to kneel for two days, according to ABC Action News.

"There is no excuse for this type of deplorable behavior," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told ABC. "People who mistreat children are the worst of the worst. Jail is too good for them - the Cussons will be more comfortable in the county jail than this little boy was when he was in their care."

The boy's grandmother, Sandra Cusson, who lives next door, told Central Florida News she was not surprised by the allegations. She said she'd been trying to get police to do something about the couple for a while.

“All there was was trouble, and he ran away, ran away,” Cusson told the station. “Another time he was disciplined, they put a diaper on him at 13 and made him wear it all day.”