IRVINE, Calif. – An Irvine couple who suspected their 15-year-old son of smoking turned to a man believed to be relied on in their church to violently discipline children, authorities said.

The parents asked Paul Kim of Chino Hills to discipline their son after finding a lighter in his possession, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokesperson Cindy Bachmann said Saturday.

Kim, 39, hit the child with a metal pole about a dozen times, causing severe bruising on his legs, said Bachmann.

An adult at the boy’s school saw the bruises and called Irvine police, who told San Bernardino County officials, she said.

Kim faces a felony charge of willful cruelty to a child.