Calhoun father arrested after daughter arrives at school injured, discloses violence at home

Written by: K. Bishop

Published February 15, 2023 @ 9:20 PM ET

Gordon County (January 19, 2023) – A counselor from a Gordon County elementary school called police when a child arrived at school with an injury to her face. According to reports, the girl said her “papaw” hit her for sassing her grandma and expressed fear of her father. The girl threw up multiple times during interviews with investigators that afternoon. She and her sisters were removed from the home by their mother the same day at the request of deputies and child services.

Arrest warrants were issued for Christopher Scott Lahm, the child’s father, the following Monday.

After noticing the girl’s face was red and swollen, the guidance counselor took the child aside and spoke with her about the injury. Reports show the girl had a red and swollen cheek and earlobe and bruising on her ear. The girl first said her grandfather had slapped her for sassing her grandmother and later said she was afraid of her father. Lahm allegedly punched holes in the walls of the family’s home and became upset with his daughters for the damage he caused. The injured girl told her school counselor, sheriff’s deputies, and a children’s advocate about the violence at home.

During an interview with the children’s advocate, the girl vomited multiple times, which led to the investigators’ decision to schedule the remainder of the interview for the following Monday. Based on the interviews, it was noted that the girl had not been hit by her grandfather recently, although she was still afraid of her father. Warrants were issued for Lahm’s arrest after the interview.

Lahm was arrested on January 30 and charged with second-degree cruelty to children.

Officer’s Narrative:
[Please note: The following is a direct transcription from the official initial incident report. The Georgia Gazette does not fix any spelling or grammatical errors that may exist. Any changes or redactions made by our staff are placed inside brackets. Some errors may exist. All subjects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The topics discussed may be sensitive to some readers. Discretion is advised.]

[NARRATIVE #1 on January 20, 2023]

On Friday, January 20, 2023 at approximately 1100 CAPT J. JENKINS with the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office responded to [REDACTED] Elementary School located at [REDACTED], Georgia 30733 in regards to a possible assault on a child.

Upon arrival CAPT JENKINS met with the school counselor [WITNESS #1]. Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that juvenile victim [VICTIM #1] had walked into the school after being dropped off from morning car riders. Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that she noticed that juvenile [VICTIM #1] was holding the right side of her face and noticed that it looked red and irritated.

Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that she escorted juvenile [VICTIM #1] over the school nurse [REDACTED]. While in the nurses office Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that juvenile [VICTIM #1] disclosed information that she had been slapped across her face by her Papaw, later identified as TOM ARNDT for being “sassy” with her Nana, later identified as [REDACTED].

Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that juvenile [VICTIM #1] advised that advised that she was scared of dad, later identified as CHRIS LAHM and also afraid to go home today after school. Juvenile [VICTIM #1] disclosed that Mr. LAHM gets mad and punches holes in the walls and then gets mad at her and her sisters for the holes in the wall. Mrs. [WITNESS #1] advised that she had made a referral to the Department of Family and Children Services.

CAPT JENKINS asked Mrs. [WITNESS #1] if she could bring juvenile [VICTIM #1] to the office to be able to juvenile [VICTIM #1] face. When juvenile [VICTIM #1] arrived CAPT JENKINS was able to visibly see redness across the right cheek of juvenile [VICTIM #1] as well as puffiness at the bottom of the earlobe. CAPT JENKINS took a picture of juvenile [VICTIM #1] cheek and ear. CAPT JENKINS also noticed what appeared to be a purplish colored bruise on the inside top of the ear and a picture was taken of that as well.

Ms. [REDACTED] with the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services arrived at Swain Elementary and was advised of the incident. CAPT JENKINS advised Ms. [REDACTED] the a forensic interview had been set up for 1500 that day with the Gordon County Child Advocacy Center. At 1134 hours CAPT JENKINS and Ms. [REDACTED] relocated to the home of juvenile [VICTIM #1] located at [100 BLOCK] Rocky Lane SW Calhoun, Georgia Gordon County.

CAPT JENKINS and Ms. [REDACTED] was able to make contact with the occupants of the residence. CAPTAIN JENKINS spoke to TOM & [REDACTED] while Ms. [REDACTED] spoke with CHRIS LAHM and received a tour of the residence. CAPT JENKINS asked if juvenile [VICTIM #1] mom, [WITNESS #2] was home and was advised yes that she was sleeping. Ms. [WITNESS #2] was woken up and agreed to step outside the residence to speak with CAPT JENKINS and Ms. [REDACTED]. Ms. [WITNESS #2] was advised of the reason for the visit and was asked if she consent for juvenile [VICTIM #1] to have to a forensic interview. Ms. [WITNESS #2] agreed to the interview and signed a consent form provided by Ms. [REDACTED].

On Friday, January 20, at approximately 1500 Ms. [WITNESS #2] and juvenile [VICTIM #1] arrived for the interview. Juvenile [VICTIM #1] was interviewed by [REDACTED] with the Gordon County Child Advocacy Center. CAPT JENKINS and Ms. [REDACTED] watched the interview in another room via video and audio connection.

Juvenile [VICTIM #1] appeared to uncomfortable during the interview. During the interview juvenile [VICTIM #1] disclosed that her dad, suspect CHRIS LAHM would get made and punch holes in the wall in the residence. Juvenile [VICTIM #1] had to excuse her self 3 different times to go the bathroom due to having to throw up. The decision was made to terminate the interview and to reschedule for Monday, January 23, 2023 at 1500.

CAPT JENKINS and Ms. [REDACTED] spoke to Ms. [WITNESS #2] after the interviewed. A safety plan was put in place and Ms. [WITNESS #2] agreed to removing the children from the residence and the presence of TOM ARNDT and CHRIS LAHM for the weekend until another forensic interview could be conducted

[End of Narrative]

[NARRATIVE #2 on January 23, 2023]

On Monday, January 23, 2023 at approximately 1500 and second forensic interview was done on juvenile [VICTIM #1]. In this interview as well as in the first interview juvenile [VICTIM #1] did not disclose any information that her Papaw TOM ARNDT had struck her. Juvenile [VICTIM #1] did advised that it had been sometime since Papaw had hit her.

CAPT JENKINS took out warrants for CHRIS LAHM for cruelty to children.

Copies of the forensic DVD was obtained from the Gordon County Child Advocacy Center and forwarded with the report.

[End of Narrative]