TULSA - A Tulsa man out of jail on a deferred child abuse sentence is back in custody after his young son came to school with a cut lip.
Tulsa police were called to Country Lane Elementary Thursday after a student reportedly told a Department of Human Services worker his father punched him in the face.
The worker took a picture of a "visible injury" on the child's inside upper lip, before the boy was sent home on a bus.
Bertheophilus Maurice Bailey was arrested Thursday afternoon. He faces one count of child abuse and previous improper driving charges.
Bailey, 33, received the deferred sentence in July 2010.
Bailey is the senior pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Claremore, where church mothers tell 2NEWS he's been senior pastor there for nearly three years.
One of those mothers, Hilda Reynolds, who returned to Mount Zion specifically for Bailey's leadership after 14 month at a different church, said she cried upon learning the news.
"I was very upset. It hurts me to see anyone in trouble, particularly my personal pastor," she said.
Reynolds, who's had several meals with Bailey including in her own home, described the senior pastor as a great man.
"He's a great person. He really is. He has a great personality. He's a very wise man. Highly educated."
Reynolds said Bailey's past conviction could have led to an overreaction by police when they arrested him for allegedly hitting his son in the face.
"I think that it's a bit exaggerated because kids can't-- parents cannot correct their kids the way they used to," Reynolds said.
The 200-member church now awaits an explanation from Bailey, who, according to Reynolds, could be voted out of the church.
Thursday's incident happened the same day an Oklahoma committee offered 16 months of findings into child deaths related to abuse and neglect (http://bit.ly/ZCp0tb).
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