herald

Friday 19 January 2018

Mother who forced son to eat hot sauce is freed

An Alaskan woman convicted of punishing her adopted Russian son by squirting hot sauce into his mouth has been spared jail.

Jessica Beagley (36) was given three years' probation, a 180-day suspended jail sentence and a $2,500 (¤1,700) fine -- also suspended -- for misdemeanor child abuse.

Prosecutors said she used a videotape of herself punishing the seven-year-old boy to get on the Dr Phil TV show.

Beagley submitted the eight-minute tape for a show segment titled 'Mommy Confessions'.

She said the boy had lied about trouble at school.

After squirting hot sauce in the boy's mouth, she punished him with a cold shower.

Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin rejected the contention that Beagley was trying to get help for her son through the TV show.

With her husband, an Anchorage police officer, at her side, Beagley said it was her most important job to love and nurture her children, and that being a good mother meant teaching children right from wrong.

"I would ask that the court would allow me to be that mother that I would like to be, to not disrupt the lives of my children any more than has been already," she said.

Beagley and her husband adopted the boy and his twin brother in 2008.

The boys were five at the time and had spent three years in an orphanage.

Beagley's attorney said she turned to unconventional forms of punishment when spankings, time-outs and restricting TV were ineffective.

The episode sparked public outrage in Russia, with some people demanding the boy and his twin brother be returned to their native country.

hnews@herald.ie

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