PLEASANTON -- A San Ramon man arrested on charges of child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly beating a foreign exchange student staying in his home made a brief appearance in court Friday and is set to enter a plea next week.
Hyunwoo Lee, 34, appeared in Superior Court in Pleasanton before Judge Christine Moruza, who held over the man's plea entry after no attorney arrived to represent him. He is set to enter the plea at 9 a.m. Sept. 4.
Lee was arrested at his San Ramon home Sunday after police were notified of possible child abuse involving a 16-year-old South Korean foreign exchange student living in his house, Lt. Herb Walters said.
Lee, who works from home as a self-employed tutor, accepts South Korean teenagers on student visas into his home so they may receive an American education, Walters said. The victim is one of many students who has lived with Lee in his home over the years.
Court records said Lee would reportedly beat the boy with a stick that was 4 feet long and 2 inches in diameter while the other students were forced to watch. He sometimes forced the onlooking students to participate in the beatings, the documents said. The boy would lie on his stomach and receive 25 to 35 lashings on the buttocks, sometimes being stomped on across his backside, and on one occasion, was struck across the face by another student on Lee's orders, prosecutors said.
Court documents also said Lee once required
The beatings were said to have happened twice in the Dublin home where Lee lived at the time, once in April and once in June, Walters said. The nature and frequency of the abuse was consistent in both cases.
Court records also indicate that open wounds still remain across the victim's buttocks, including a bleeding gash 3 inches in diameter, that is still in the process of healing.
An undisclosed number of current foreign exchange students were removed from the home when Lee was arrested; they have since moved in with other Bay Area families. It was not immediately known which foreign exchange agency placed the children in the residence.
Additional incidents were reported to have occurred in Lee's past residences in both Dublin and San Ramon during 2011 and 2012; however, the majority of the incidents occurred in Dublin, Walters said.
Lee confessed to the beatings during police interviews and was booked into Santa Rita Jail on suspicion of child endangerment and assault with a deadly weapon, Walters said.
Anyone with additional information about this case, including possible witnesses or victims, may call Detective Dan McNaughton at 925-833-6696.
Contact Erin Ivie at 925-847-2122. Follow her at Twitter.com/erin_ivie.