SEATTLE (AP) _ Three members of a church have been charged with assault for allegedly beating a 9-year-old boy more than 80 times with sticks because he sprayed water on a rug at a church picnic.

All are members of the Evangelistic Chapel, based in Burien, a south Seattle suburb.

The three were charged Friday with hitting the boy on the buttocks and legs while he was at a July 5 church picnic at Camp Berachah in Auburn. He had gone to the picnic with his stepfather.

The boy became angry at some church members during the picnic and sprayed water on an Astroturf rug in one of the buildings, King County Deputy Prosecutor Kathryn Goater said in an affidavit filed with the charges.

The Rev. Ruben J. Corpi of the Evangelistic Chapel ordered the boy to clean up the mess, Ms. Goater said.

One of the men, James F. Austin, later decided the boy was not cleaning the rug quickly enough and told the youth he was going to spank him every five minutes until the water was cleaned up, the deputy prosecutor said.

For the next two hours, the three men ''repeatedly struck (the boy) on the buttocks and legs with sticks,'' Ms. Goater alleged.

Police were notified after another church member told the boy's mother about the beating. The boy was treated at Harborview Medical Center for extensive bruises.

Charged with second-degree assault were Austin, 41, of Kent; Samuela Heuati Langi, 26, of White Center, and Robert James Taylor, 38, of Vashon.