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Domestic CP - March 2004

Corpun file 12988

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin, 4 March 2004

Regional News Briefs - North

Spanking won't result in charges

A man who spanked his teenage daughter in front of her Cudahy High School biology class last month will not be charged with a crime, Assistant District Attorney Jane Carroll said Wednesday.

Carroll, who is with the Milwaukee County district attorney's Sensitive Crimes Unit, said that because the spanking did not cause serious physical injury to the daughter, it did not meet the legal definition of child abuse.

 Copyright 2004 Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 13269

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin, 8 March 2004

The Morning Mail


District attorney right not to press charges

People who are appalled about the father spanking his daughter in school are saying it was violence? (The Morning Mail, March 4)

The only thing the father did was discipline a daughter who was being disrespectful. Parents have every right to spank their children without strangers having a say in it. People are too quick to judge other parents' way of discipline. This was in no way a violent action.

Kids today are showing less and less respect to adults and parents. In response to Sean Courtney's letter "Shame on those who applaud such discipline," his being beaten by a teacher was a very tragic action of violence because it was done by a teacher. In the Cudahy High School case, it was a spanking done by a parent.

I applaud the district attorney's office in not pressing charges. In many parents' minds, spanking is a non-violent way of discipline, especially when considering that some parents beat their children to death just for asking for more milk.

It's time for parents to start being able to discipline their children by spanking without society giving us a dirty look. This just proves that today's society is taking away the rights of parents and giving them to everyone else.

Richard Brockmann
West Allis

 Copyright 2004, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

Corpun file 13028

Register-News, Mount Vernon, Illinois, 10 March 2004

Teacher, Boy Scout leader charged with domestic battery

By Mary Kaye Davis

MT. VERNON -- A local substitute teacher and Boy Scout leader faces domestic battery charges after allegedly paddling her 9-year-old son and leaving bruises.

Sheila Ferguson, 45, of 1518 Dodds St., sobbed in court Monday as Judge Kathleen Alling read the charges against her.

The misdemeanor charge alleges Ferguson caused "bodily harm" to her son by "hitting his buttocks with a paddle." She posted $500 bond Monday afternoon.

According to information from Mt. Vernon Police Department, the boy's father, Gary Ferguson, reported the bruises Saturday afternoon.

The Fergusons are in the process of getting a divorce.

Police say two large bruises were found on the boy. The information was turned over to the state's attorney, who filed the charge against Sheila Ferguson.

MVPD Capt. Steve Lamar said Tuesday there was probable cause to arrest Mrs. Ferguson and turn the evidence over to the state's attorney.

"Based on information gathered during investigations, the officers have to decide whether to make an immediate arrest or not," Lamar said. "In this case, there was enough evidence."

After her initial appearance in court, her husband several hours later sought an emergency order of protection on behalf of himself and his son.

According to court records, Sheila Ferguson also has an order of protection against her husband.

In October, Gary Ferguson, 35, was charged with three counts of violating that order of protection and with domestic battery and battery causing bodily harm. In February 2003, he was also charged with violating an order of protection. Then, at 7:40 p.m. on Tuesday, he was again accused of violating the order.

Gary Ferguson, representing himself in court, asked Alling that his wife have no contact with their son, including not visiting his school or church, and that she not harass, physically abuse or stalk their son.

He also requested that Sheila Ferguson turn over his son's pet snake, his medicine, his $502-per-month SSI checks, clothing, videocassette recorder, television and PlayStation, and that he be the boy's primary caregiver until his wife "found an alternate means of discipline."

He also asked that his wife's visitation be denied or restricted -- just as it was in his order of protection -- and that she not be allowed within 500 feet of their son. He also asked that his wife take a Women Challenging Violence course.

He said the boy's left buttocks was [sic] "consumed" with bruises and the right buttocks was [sic] "three-quarters" bruised.

Gary Ferguson added that, a week or two before, his son had a bruise on his back and told his father it came from being tickled at school, then changed his story to "a ball hit him."

He said he didn't want his wife seeing their son for 60 days and he wants his wife and son to attend therapy so "they can work out their issues."

Gary Ferguson was upset that police did not provide the state's attorney with photos of the alleged injuries. When asked if he had photos, he said, "I'm sorry. I didn't think of taking a picture of my son's rear end." Alling said, based on the state's attorney finding probable cause to charge Sheila Ferguson, she would grant the emergency order of protection in regard to the boy, but not to Gary Ferguson.

The judge also mandated that the boy temporarily stay with his father until the Department of Children and Family Services finishes its investigation. Visitation would be left up to DCFS, Alling said.

The judge also did not allow Gary Ferguson to take possession of the requested items, and also denied allowing the boy's SSI checks to be sent to him, telling him she had no control over changing the assignment of the check.

Register-News 2004

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