Corpun file 20592
The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania, 10 September 2008
Granddad acquitted in paddling
Bethlehem Twp. man said teen needed discipline to turn his
By Riley Yates
Of The Morning Call
A Bethlehem Township man accused of child endangerment for
hitting his 13-year-old grandson with wooden paddles was
acquitted Tuesday by a Northampton County jury.
Valentino L. Thomas, 61, was accused of felony child
endangerment, simple assault and harassment in connection with
the Nov. 12. 2007, punishment of his grandson, then an
eighth-grader at East Hills Middle School.
"I told him I was going to make a gentleman and a scholar out of
him if it killed me," said Thomas, who noted the boy is now a
high school freshman who earns A's.
Pennsylvania law does not ban corporal punishment altogether,
prohibiting it only if it risks death, serious bodily injury,
disfigurement, or severe pain, mental anguish or degradation.
Prosecutors argued Thomas stepped over the line when he paddled
his grandson after the teen broke into a locked cabinet and later
that day got in trouble in school.
In a 911 call, the boy asked for police to come because, "My
granddaddy, he's about to beat me down." Bethlehem Township
police officers who responded testified that Thomas was angry and
out of control.
The boy had a scratch on his cheek, welts on his forearm and red
buttocks from being spanked by the two wooden paddles, each a
Copyright © 2008, The
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