Sometimes kids can be really annoying and behave really badly. Luckily for my parents, I was a little bit of both when I was younger. After throwing a spare rib at someone’s head in a Chinese restaurant, my parents didn’t take me out to dinner with them for months. After throwing a puzzle at the wall and making a huge hole in it, my parents didn’t allow me to have playdates for a while. Apparently, I was a big fan of throwing things when I was a little girl.
But my parents never hit me, and they certainly never abused me. They just took things away, and made me see that there were consequences for my actions. My parents are awesome. And look at what a fine specimen I turned out to be! Now I make fun of people on the internet for a living. They’re so proud.
Now, I don’t have kids, but from what I see happening around me, I feel like parents just don’t know how to be parents anymore. But they do know how to be drama queens. Case in point: an Alaska mother was so desperate to get on the Dr. Phil show that she filmed herself forcing her child to hold hot sauce in his mouth and shoving him into a cold shower.
Is this child abuse? You bet your ass it is, and this bad mommy might be going to jail for it….
Yesterday, an Anchorage jury found 36-year-old Jessica Beagley guilty of misdemeanor child abuse. She is facing up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine. Beagley is a mother to six children. Two of those children were twins adopted from Russia, and the boy featured in the offending video was one of them.
You probably have to be a brave woman to have six kids — that is a whole lot of children. I don’t think that I could handle six kids, and I’m usually a pretty calm person. So maybe that’s why Beagley resorted to this kind of “unorthodox parenting” to discipline her adopted son.
This is the clip that Beagley submitted to the Dr. Phil show (but I must warn you, it is pretty sad, so watch at your own discretion):
That’s not really something that makes Beagley a likable defendant. And we don’t know if she was engaging in overacting or over-disciplining for the sake of submitting the video to the Dr. Phil show, but her son seems legitimately scared of his mother.
And I know that I have all of these crazy female hormones, but I wanted to cry a little bit while this poor little boy was wailing in the shower. It makes me wonder how many women and mothers were on the Beagley jury, because if this jury was packed full of them, it could very well explain the guilty verdict.
The Anchorage Daily News has more on the verdict in Beagley’s case:
Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin, who told the jury that Beagley abused the boy in an attempt to get on national TV, called the verdict a just one. “(The jury) concluded that it is child abuse to hurt your child as an audition for a television show,” she said.
Defense lawyer William Ingaldson had argued Beagley struggled to correct the troubled boy’s bad behavior and was reaching out for help. That’s not a crime, he argued.
“The way the law is written … makes it really difficult for a parent to discipline your kids and not be subject to other people’s subjective ideas of what is right or wrong,” the defense lawyer said.
Ingaldson expanded on these views in an interview with the WSJ Law Blog.
Also worth noting is the fact that the Russian government has become involved in this case. Let’s not forget that these twins were adopted from the Motherland. That being said, there is a chance that the Russian Commissioner of Children’s Rights would seek the boys’ return to Russia.
Andrey Bondarev, a representative from the Russian Consulate General’s office in Seattle, said interest in Russia has been intense because of the boy’s remaining ties to the country.
“They made a big mistake punishing an adopted Russian boy before the cameras and sending this video to Dr. Phil, participating in the show,” Bondarev said.
Readers, what do you think? Should Beagley have been convicted of misdemeanor child abuse? Either way, I bet that the twins would rather go back to Russia and get a mouthful of borscht than a mouthful of hot sauce.
Year in jail possible for mom guilty of abuse by hot sauce [Anchorage Daily News]
MOMmentary: Is Hot Sauce the New Time Out? [Moms & the City / New York Daily News]
Alaska Mom Convicted of Child Abuse for Hot-Sauce Discipline Portrayed on ‘Dr. Phil’ [ABA Journal]
A Q&A with William Ingaldson, Counsel for the ‘Hot Sauce’ Mom [WSJ Law Blog]