Man claims God told him to baptize boy by force in scum-covered pool, deputies say

DELTONA, Fla. — A Deltona man was arrested and charged with child abuse after he allegedly made an 11-year-old boy strip to his underwear and baptized him in by force in his neighbor’s filthy pool, deputies said.

Henry L. Love Jr., told investigators that God woke him up and told him to do it, a Volusia County arrest report said.

Love woke up the boy, who was staying with him, at about 9 a.m. Wednesday and told the 11-year-old to strip, deputies said.

Love then grabbed the boy and dragged him to his neighbor’s above-ground pool and threw him in, the report said.

The boy told his mother that the pool was “nasty and green,” and was filled with bugs, investigators said.

Deputies who later examined the pool said the water was green and unsanitary.

The boy protested, but Love dunked his head under the water several times while yelling, “You’re being baptized,” the report said.

The boy’s mother picked him up at about 4 p.m. and by 8 p.m. the 11-year-old had an eye and ear infection so serious that she had to take him to an urgent care center for treatment, deputies said.

The doctor who diagnosed the infections said it was likely they came from the boy being submerged in the unsanitary water, the report said.

Deputies tracked Love down at about 12:21 a.m. standing at an intersection near his home where he was arrested.

After being handcuffed, Love told a deputy that, “He was awoken from his sleep by God and told to baptize (the boy),” the report said.

Love was charged with child abuse.

He was being held without bond at the Volusia County Jail.