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Man slaps girl while pulling tooth, charged with abuse, deputies say

Deputies: Man saw welt on 5-year-old's cheek, admits he'd gone too far

PONTE VEDRA, Fla. – A 40-year-old Ponte Vedra man has been charged with child abuse after deputies said he left bruises on a 5-year-old girl's face while trying to pull out her loose tooth.

Joshua Frank admitted that he put the girl, whose name and relationship to Frank are not in the arrest report, in a headlock and slapped her to “get her attention” because she was squirming and trying to escape his grasp as he attempted to remove her loose tooth, deputies said.

The girl went to school Tuesday with bruises on her face and redness on her neck and school personnel called the abuse hotline, which prompted a child protective investigator to look into the allegations, deputies said.

The girl told deputies Frank grabbed her to remove the loose tooth, and when she tried to get away, he slapped her in the face.

During an interview with deputies, Frank said that he saw a welt forming on the girl's check after he slapped her and thought his actions might have been excessive.

He was booked into the St. Johns County jail and has been released on bond.