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Mother faced felony for spanking child

Allegations of domestic assault or violence can put people in a very upsetting position, especially if these accusations are made falsely out of anger or resentment towards another person. And whether they involve spouses, roommates or family members, accusations of domestic violence are often very complicated and damaging. Even if a person believes he or she has done nothing wrong, that person can end up facing serious criminal consequences if they are convicted.

One woman was recently facing the possibility of having a felony on her criminal record after her ex-husband reported her for abusing their daughter. 

According to reports, the man saw that his daughter had bruising on her legs. He believed that his ex-wife was putting the girl in physical danger and went to authorities to file a complaint. When the mother learned of her ex's allegations and was charged with child cruelty, she was stunned. She argued that she had not been abusing their child, but had disciplined her for misbehaving in school.

The woman admitted that although she had spanked her child with a belt as a means of disciplining her, she did not believe it was abusive or wrong. But because the spanking left bruises, the prosecutor in the case argued that it was a sign of abuse. The mother's attorney countered that the woman had not intended to leave bruising and it was the first time she had ever spanked her child with a belt.

Spanking as a disciplinary measure is certainly not new, but it is very controversial. There are some people who believe it is wrong and others who believe it is effective in teaching children to behave. But is it considered child cruelty or abuse?

In this case, the woman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was able to avoid a trial and the possibility of a conviction for a felony. But there are many people in New York who may be in a similar position as this woman, whose actions may have only been reported because of a contentious relationship with her ex. Sorting out the details of an alleged altercation and challenging questionable or false accusations can be very difficult for a person to do on his or her own. Because of this, it may be beneficial to speak with an attorney who can work to have the assault charges dismissed or reduced.

Source: Fredericksburg.com, "Judge bars mother from spanking her daughter," Keith Epps, Sept. 18, 2013

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Lerner & Lerner, P.C.

Former prosecutors with more than 50 years of combined experience

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