Did discipline lead this man to be charged with a crime?

Louisiana readers may be aware of a recent case in which a man has been accused of abusing two teenage girls in Okaloosa Island. The case has led to widespread media coverage of the incident, including photos of the man who was arrested. As he prepares to respond to the charges against him, the story has some debating whether their own discipline measures could possibly lead them to be charged with a crime.

As of yet, the reports surrounding the incident have come from only one side. Media reports are often based solely on police reports, and can give a very skewed perspective on the events that led to an arrest. In this case, the 35-year-old man was arrested based on the accounts given by two teenage girls.

A 15-year-old girl claimed that the man choked and punched her, shoving her face into a couch. It was also asserted that he chased the two girls out of a house, then dragged one by the arm and hair. A 13-year-old who says that she attempted to help the other teen claims to have been shoved to the ground. Both girls say that the man beat them with a belt.

Anyone with teenage children is familiar with the tendency they have of exaggerating events and details. Viewed from a different perspective, each of the accounts given by the girls could be explained under the umbrella of discipline, a case in which a decision to spank an older child resulted in a dramatic recreation of the actual events. By no means should actual abuse be considered a form of discipline, but many cases such as this end up falling apart under closer examination.

The man was arrested, and charged with two counts of aggravated child abuse. These charges suggest that he was acting in the role of caretaker to the girls at the time of the incident. There is no word on why the disciplinary acts were taken. As the case moves forward, additional details will likely be made available. Until then, Louisiana parents who have teenage children may read the details of these accusations against the man charged with a crime very differently than others.

Source: nwfdailynews.com, "Louisiana man charged with attacking two teenage girls", Lauren Sage Reinlie, July 28, 2014

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