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Domestic CP - July 2008

Corpun file 20345


Harrisburg Patriot-News, Pennsylvania, 1 July 2008

Dad charged with assault after bruising spankings

By Matt Miller
Of Our Cumberland County Bureau

A Shippensburg-area man spanked his two adopted daughters, ages 9 and 11, so hard with a leather belt that their buttocks were masses of bruises, state police said.

Patrick M. McCardell, 30, of Southampton Twp., was charged with simple assault and harassment in what authorities said was a case of parental discipline crossing the line into a criminal act.

"This wasn't even a close call," Sgt. Jonathan Mays said of the decision to arrest McCardell. "There was significant bruising."

Police said McCardell told them he'd spanked the girls repeatedly from June 21 to 23. They were being disciplined for lying, for stealing food from a storage area at their home and for moving a pair of scissors, troopers said.

McCardell's arrest on Saturday was the second time in three days that a Cumberland County man was charged with assaulting a child in his care.

Gregory Marshall-Rivera, 19, was arrested Thursday by Hampden Twp. police for allegedly beating his fiancee's 3-year-old son with a belt and burning the child with a lighter because the boy soiled his pants. Marshall-Rivera was in county prison in lieu of $100,000 bail, charged with simple assault, child endangerment and reckless endangerment.

District Attorney David Freed said corporal punishment is allowed under state law, but assault charges can be filed if an adult intentionally or recklessly causes significant injury while disciplining a child.

"These are tough cases," Freed said. "It's a judgment call every time."

In arrest papers, Trooper Mark Gray said the injuries to McCardell's daughters were reported to county Children & Youth Services by another adult.

McCardell admitted the spanking, Gray said.

"He began crying while admitting to me that he had not realized the extent of the injuries he inflicted to his daughters," Gray said.

An attempt to reach McCardell for comment was not successful.

McCardell is free on $25,000 bail. District Judge Robert V. Manlove barred him from having contact with the girls, who remained in their home.

2008 The Patriot-News All Rights Reserved.

Corpun file 20448


Stillwater Gazette, Minnesota, 29 July 2008

The state oversteps its bounds in how parents discipline children

By Rodney Jay Vessels

William Kane, of Oak Park Heights, faces more than a year in jail for allegedly spanking his daughter with a broom handle.

Authorities took pictures of the girl's bottom. It was red. A red bottom that results from a spanking is all it takes to send a parent to prison in this state.

Kane was charged with "malicious punishment of a child." Minnesota's statutes define malicious punishment of a child to include spanking that "evidences unreasonable force." In other words, authorities can decide for parents when spanking is "unreasonable" and then prosecute them accordingly.

In one Minnesota case, a father was found guilty of malicious punishment of his son, because he used a belt, which the boy said "hurt." The boy also said he wanted his father jailed because he was being "mean."

In another case, parents used a small wooden paddle on their son after withdrawing privileges and grounding him didn't work. The boy left home, was picked up by police, and told them his father had paddled him. The district attorney decided that the father's use of the paddle was unreasonable, and the court agreed.

In a third case, a mother was prosecuted for spanking one of her daughters with a book. The fact that the daughter's bottom was red the day of the spanking (but not the next day) was sufficient evidence for a conviction, even though a doctor testified the marks showed that the amount of force was not significant.

Whatever parents' personal views of spanking are, we should all be concerned about a government that forces its views on parents, making it a crime if spanking results in a red rear end.

Regardless of whether you believe in spanking, do you really believe it should be up to government to tell us whether we can spank our children, or that a spanked, red bottom is a sign of abuse? Do you realize the extent to which our government has intruded into our responsibilities as parents? Do you understand that the expansiveness of so-called "child protection" laws threaten every parent who believes that spanking is a necessary option for disciplining one's children?

Today, we send to jail parents who spank their misbehaving kids, and reward parents who agree instead to have the kids drugged. We are fast becoming a drug-induced, mood-altered society, rather than a traditional Judeo-Christian society.

We live in a society that punishes parents who believe in values such as expressed in Proverbs 13: 24: "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

Pity the parents who hold such traditional beliefs today.

Rod practices law and writing, although he needs more practice at both. He lives in Stillwater with his wife, Mauri.

2005 The Stillwater Gazette.

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