Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dad with sole custody loses 11-year-old son to foster care after beating; why are authorities pushing for him to get custody back and not mom? (Tucson, Arizona)

Yet another one of those cases where you have to read between the lines and notice what is NOT said and what is NOT explained.

UNNAMED DAD had SOLE CUSTODY and was allowed to move out of state, away from the mother. Mothers are increasingly banned from moveaways, but the same restrictions apparently don't apply to dads.

The father is obviously abusive. He beat the boy hard enough to make him fall to the floor and then continued to beat him. The beating left the boy with welts and broken blood vessels.   

During the initial 911 call, the boy (obviously traumatized and stuttering) reported he wanted to live with Mom. It appears that he was pressured to later recant and say he wants to live with the abuser again.

So the authorities put the boy in foster care, where he is reputedly depressed and not doing well.

Why is the boy in foster care and not with mom? Notice that the explanation is short and vague to the extreme, that she was "not deemed a possible placement after the father’s arrest." Why not? Is she more abusive than Daddy? There are no claims that she is. I suspect nothing but politics here, given that no specifics are given that could document their deceit (or likely corruption).

Meanwhile, the abusive father is full of denial, trying to convince the child protection officials that photos of his son's back just show that it's merely "red." The officials aren't buying it.

But that has stopped Daddy from GETTING CUSTODY BACK. His elderly mother is supposed to be moving in to "help," but the boy's mother protested because the elderly mother couldn't possibly "effectively protect" the child. Of course she couldn't. It's total nonsense.

Frankly it is UTTER BULLS*** that this mother doesn't get custody back, but of course abusers are outstanding at smearing the protective parent, instigating trauma bonding with the victim, and forcing the victim to recant for fear of additional abuse. The boy was obviously threatened and punished for calling his mother after the beating and saying what he said.

And of course the authorities are all ready to play enablers to the abusive daddy.

Who says daddies are discriminated against?

And how much you want to bet he beat the mother too?

These questions are not only NOT RAISED but are buried under a ridiculous "philosophical" treatise about what child abuse is or isn't.

Tucson dad calls it spanking; authorities say abuse

22 hours ago • By Patty Machelor

A Tucson man used a folded belt to discipline his son — and now he is facing criminal charges and his child is in foster care.

Authorities say the 42-year-old father crossed the line from legal spanking into child abuse last February when he hit his 11-year-old son hard enough to leave welts.

The father says he merely gave his child a spanking that left red marks, and that no one who saw the boy afterwards deemed the injuries serious enough to need medical treatment. He hadn’t spanked his son for a year, he says, and is something he does rarely.

“This wasn’t abuse. But even if you considered it abuse, how would it rise to the level of a removal?” he asks. “Why would it go that far?”

His son was put into foster care in February and, after months of hearings and legal debate, remains there today. The man’s criminal case is no less complicated: He was indicted on felony child abuse charges once, but then the case was sent back and a second grand jury declined to indict. He now faces a misdemeanor charge of child abuse.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Child Safety declined to discuss the case or whether the agency has any specific protocols when it comes to spanking and corporal punishment.

The case highlights the ongoing debate over how far a parent should go when disciplining a child. Arizona law permits parents to hit their children but only in a “reasonable and appropriate” manner.

The controversy has grown even more intense since last month’s indictment of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson is facing felony child abuse charges after he used a switch from a tree to discipline his 4-year-old son.

Since 1986, the number of people who support spanking nationally is still high, but falling — from 84 percent to about 70 percent in 2012, reports the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey. Worldwide, 32 countries prohibit spanking.

School performance

A scrapbook shows some of the boy’s many accomplishments: honor student, budding pianist, natural athlete. But his father, whom the Star is not identifying to protect the child’s identity, says nine months in foster homes and group care have left his son depressed, disoriented and rapidly gaining weight.

Court records from the father’s criminal case show that while the boy was initially angry and wanted to live with his mother after his father hit him with the belt, he now wants to be with his father again.

The pair moved to Tucson from the East Coast in 2013 a few years after the father won sole custody. The boy sees his mother periodically, during vacations and summer breaks, but she was not deemed a possible placement after the father’s arrest. Attempts to reach the boy’s mother were unsuccessful.

In general, the father says he employs other means of discipline — such as loss of privileges and grounding. But he says last February’s punishment was harsher because of his son’s repeated lying about how he was doing in school. The father says that when he found his son had again lied and missed eight assignments, he decided to give him “eight straps.”

Afterwards, the father left to run some errands and received a call from Tucson police about an emergency call made by his son.

“He called his mom and complained and she coerced him to call 911,” the father says. “They arrested me on the spot.”

A Pima County grand jury indicted the father in March on felony child abuse charges. But the case went back to a second grand jury after a judge found the original panel didn’t receive enough information about how, under Arizona law, a parent, guardian or teacher can use physical force against a child as long as it’s “reasonably necessary and appropriate to maintain discipline.”

During the proceedings, a Tucson police detective testified that the boy said his father hit him so hard on the buttocks that he fell, and then continued to hit him with the belt when he was on the floor. The boy told police and investigators that he was frightened and that his father was angry, transcripts show.

Police records describe welts and the speckling of broken blood vessels on the boy’s skin. Dr. Dale Woolridge, who examined photographs of the boy’s injuries, told police that a large amount of force had caused the marks — force the doctor said “exceeds discipline.”

The father testified that he used a belt because he subscribes to a philosophy that parents should not use their hands to punish their children. He also testified that the boy tried to move away from him during the spanking, and that was the reason he was hit on his legs and back as well as his buttocks.

“I have never touched him with my hands in any type of, you know, aggressive way,” he told the second grand jury, records show. “So, as his father, someone who loves him more than anyone, I believed this was the best course of action, you know, given the seriousness of the lesson that he needed to learn.”

Afterward, when the boy called 911, he told the person on the line that he wanted to go live with his mother, who resides out-of-state.

“I, I, I, I, I just call, I just called because I thought I like, I could go live with my mom because, I, she said I’m old enough to decide or something,” he said, a transcript of the call shows.

He later said in the 911 call that it wasn’t typical of his father to hit him.

“I mean, he doesn’t like usually do this. He’s, I mean, he’s usually good, but this time he kinda went too far,” the boy told the police.

The second grand jury declined to indict by a vote of 7-6.

No ideal punishment

Rebecca Mueller, the misdemeanor-unit supervisor with the County Attorney’s Office, says the child-abuse cases her office prosecutes go beyond what people typically think of as a spanking.

“While the person charged might qualify it as a spanking, we are looking at exactly what that conduct was,” Mueller says.

A spanking, developmental psychologist Marjorie Gunnoe says, should include no more than two swats on a child’s arm, leg or buttocks with an open hand, and should be administered to children ages 2 to 7 — and then phased out.

Gunnoe, of Calvin College in Michigan, believes spanking can sometimes be necessary for a parent to bring about a “healthy level of compliance.”

Her position is not a popular one in the academic world, she says, but most of the public agrees with her. She says there is no ideal when it comes to punishment and that how a parent proceeds depends on the child.

Some children need an occasional spanking, while others do not, she said, but outlawing spanking would put parents in a situation “where their hands are so tied that they cannot parent effectively.”

But Deborah Sendek, program director for the National Center for Effective Discipline, says other means of disciplining children work better. Spanking risks traumatizing the child physically and emotionally, she says.

Women who were spanked as children often have trouble establishing boundaries in relationships and are more vulnerable to domestic violence, she says. Men who were hit, in turn, often have trouble recognizing other people’s boundaries and are more at risk to become abusers.

Banning spanking would take the guess work out of figuring out when hitting is OK, she says.

“In all 50 states in the U.S., parents are allowed to use what’s called reasonable force. But what’s reasonable isn’t always defined the same between you or me or someone else,” she says. “The laws are still very ambiguous and the word reasonable interprets differently to different people.”

Laws, not protocol

The Tucson father spends his free time researching his case. He carries around stacks of legal documents and printouts of research papers, along with a small album that holds photos of his son.

A couple of weeks ago, the father drove to Phoenix to meet with officials from the state’s Department of Child Safety. He shared with them a photograph of the strap mark on his son’s back, urging them to agree that it was merely red and not welt-riddled with broken blood vessels, but they disagreed.

He asked for a copy of their protocol on spanking and says he was told they don’t have any protocol because they follow the law.

Late last week, the man said, his son was supposed to return home to live with both his father and his paternal grandmother, who moved here from Florida to help. The father, under this plan, would have received in-home services from child-welfare workers.

But the case stalled again when the child’s mother protested. Her attorney filed the concern, saying the grandmother could not effectively protect her grandson from her son.

The child, who sees his father twice a week during supervised visits, remains at a group home.