Dad forced 10-year-old son to eat habanero sauce to ‘motivate’ him, Tennessee cops say

Christopher Aschnewitz is charged with child abuse.
Christopher Aschnewitz is charged with child abuse. Metro Police Department

It all started when the 10-year-old boy struggled to eat spicy food, according to authorities.

Christopher Aschnewitz’s son had trouble finishing the food Monday night at his Nashville, Tennessee home, so Aschnewitz made him do push-ups as punishment, an arrest affidavit said.

But the boy also struggled to perform the push-ups, authorities said. So his father told him to do sit-ups instead, the affidavit said.

Police say the boy’s efforts still didn’t meet Aschnewitz’s approval. The man then forced his son to eat a teaspoon of habanero sauce, telling him that if he threw up the hot sauce, he’d have to eat his vomit, the affidavit said.

Aschnewitz, 39, said the hot sauce would “motivate” the boy to complete his exercises, authorities said. The child could have water if he was successful, his father allegedly told him.

When the boy failed to perform the exercises, authorities say Aschnewitz beat him with an aluminum pole — described as a three-foot lobster snare, which is used by divers to draw lobsters out of crevasses for catching — in the buttocks several times.

The boy suffered severe bruising to his buttocks and upper legs, the affidavit said. He was finally allowed to go to bed at around midnight, authorities said.

Officers were called to Pennington Elementary School the next day to respond to a child abuse allegation, the affidavit said. Police say the boy’s statements were consistent throughout his interviews with detectives and teachers.

Aschnewitz is charged with aggravated child abuse, WPTZ reported. Court records don’t list an attorney for him.