ST. CLOUD -- A Stearns County man has been charged with domestic violence crimes involving his wife and children which authorities say has been happening for years.

Twenty-eight-year-old Nicholas Lehmeier of Collegeville Township is charged with malicious punishment of a child and second degree assault with a dangerous weapon.

Court records allege Lehmeier has shown a pattern of abuse against his wife which includes pointing a shotgun at her while she was breastfeeding their infant son.

Lehmeier is also accused of hitting his daughter in the face, causing red marks on her face and near her eye. He already has a previous conviction of assault involving a child.

Stearns County Sheriff's deputies were called to the home in the 2900 block of 151st Avenue, in Collegeville Township to investigate a report of child abuse on February 8th, 2016. The wife said she had gone to buy groceries when Lehmeier called her and told her to get home before he killed the kids.

Lehmeier allegedly admitted to investigators he hit one of the kids with an open hand after she got into a bag of candy.

During the investigation, the mother told officers Lehmeier had pulled a shotgun on her in July of 2015 and pulled the trigger. The gun failed to fire. She said he blamed her for their five kids being removed from the home earlier that year and was upset because she was spending time with their infant child and not him. She testified Lehmeier then went and got a handgun. She told officers she believed he was going to kill her. Lehmeier eventually left the room and fired a shot out a window.

The woman told officers Lehmeier controlled their finances, controlled who she could be friends with, forced sex on her and repeatedly told her (that) he would kill her and the kids if she left him. Lehmeier is accused of abusing her over the course of their 10-year relationship and she did not report it because she was deathly afraid of him.