New revelations from the Daily Beast indicate the Steven Hammond, the “rancher hero” who the Bundy militiamen have flocked to defend, is a serial child abuser. Deputy Sheriff Brian Needham and a human services representatives investigated an incident in March 2004 involving his nephew Dusty Hammond, then 16, about “a possible assault involving a student.”
They found the boy with mysterious wounds on his chest. Dusty, who lived with his grandparents, told the officer, and has behavioral issues, had scratched initials into his chest with a paperclip. His grandparents, unsure of how to properly deal with the situation, called his uncle Steven, who told the police that “raising kids is like raising cows or dogs,” to discipline him. The police report of how Steven Hammond “disciplined” his nephew is absolutely chilling to read:
““Dusty told me that in the past several months the discipline has gotten worse and worse. Dusty told me that two to three months ago he and Steve had gotten into an argument about how Dusty was doing his chores. Dusty stated that Steve became very upset and charged him. Dusty stated that Steve hit him in the chest with a closed fist, knocking him to the ground. Dusty stated that Steve then took Dusty’s face and rubbed it into the gravel. Dusty stated that this action hurt and made him fearful of Steve.
When Dusty was caught with tobacco, Steve made him eat two cans of Skoal Smokeless tobacco, then drove him 10 miles from the ranch and made him walk back.
Dusty stated that Steve told him that he was not going to let Dusty deface the family by carving on himself. Dusty stated that Steve then took him and began to sand the initials off his chest… Steve sanded on each side of his chest for at least five minutes… Steve used a very coarse sandpaper to sand off the initials. Dusty told me that the process was very painful, but that he did not cry because he knew that Steve would continue the process for a longer period of time.
Dusty told me that Steve told him that if the sanding did not remove the initials, that he would fillet the initials off Dusty’s chest.”
For some unknown reason, the Hammonds were never charged with any crimes and Dusty remained in their custody. When federal investigators came to ask about the Hammond arsons, he told them he was scared Steven would kill him if he talked to the police – but he eventually testified in front of a jury, where he told them that he was almost consumed by the fire himself:
“Fire was like knee high to start with, and then it—I was looking, trying to figure out where everybody else went, and I kind of got, like, trapped by it. It came up behind me faster than I expected it to… It was, like, over my head, eight, 10 feet probably… I thought I was going to get burned up. There was Mud Creek, just a little bit of water, not much, but everything was green around it, so I went down there in the rocks and waited for most of [the fire] to go by.”
And there you have it. These are the government-resisting “heroes” that the Bundy militia has come to support – child abusers and arsonists. Steven and Dwight Hammond have turned themselves in to law enforcement officials, but its not clear if their sentences are long enough in light of these horrifying revelations. Steven said that “raising kids is like raising cows or dogs,” but what kind of monster would treat another animal like this, let alone a teenager?
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.