April 30, 2005

"The Belt was nine feet long, eight feet wide, and it had hooks in it that would rip the meat off of ya if it ever hit ya..."

A Plymouth, MA father has been charged with felony assault with a deadly weapon after spanking his 12 year-old son with a belt.

42 year-old Charles Enloe hit his son three times with a belt as a form of discipline after his son's teacher reported to the elder Enloe that the boy had forgotten his homework assignment.

‘‘I never knew it would be considered assault with a deadly weapon,'' Enloe said. ‘‘And it shouldn't be. It shouldn't be a crime if it's discipline. I know there are parents out there that abuse their children, but I'm definitely not one of them. But police have to follow the letter of the law. My father was a police officer. I'm not angry at them, and I don't blame my son.''

Enloe said he hopes the courts will dismiss the charge after reviewing the facts. ‘‘I have no previous record,'' he said.

Police Capt. Michael Botieri said officers have more leeway about arresting a parent for domestic violence when an open hand is used for spanking.

‘‘When a parent uses an instrument to discipline, it makes it more difficult for us,'' Botieri said. ‘‘The belt pushed this over the edge.''

The incident happened at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, and left no marks or bruises, according to police.

The boy's mother, who is divorced from Enloe reported the spanking to police, who in turn arrested Enloe.

This sounds like we've got a couple of problems here: first off, the mother has politely undermined any measure of discipline the father has been trying to enforce. Secondly, if a spanking with a belt -- three swats mind you -- is a felony, then I guess I ought to hold out my hands to the nearest cop for arrest; and if that's the case, I guess my mom and dad ought to be on death row.

The Massachusetts Department of Social Services is investigating the incident, after being informed by the police this week. Under Massachusetts law, corporal punishment is not deemed illegal so long as the child is not injured or "left with a bruise, bumps, cuts and you would also consider the frequency of the punishment."

Sounds like the police involved overstepped their authority as well.

Welcome to Massachusetts -- the nanny state.

(Linking to OTB's Weekend Traffic Jam)

Posted by mhking at April 30, 2005 11:24 PM

And will Massachuesetts bring neglect charges against the father if the kid stops going to school, hots the crack pipe & starts turning tricks, in the absence of any parental authority?

Maybe Dad went a bit overboard here, but it sounds like a divorced Mom trying to stick it to the ex., and a state system out of control.

Posted by: Tony Iovino at May 2, 2005 06:56 AM

Nice headline! I almost choked and I *did* doubletake. Bill Cosby's "To Russell, the brother whom I slept with," right? I grew up listening to that record.

"Do you want me... to get... THE BELT?"

Posted by: elgato at May 2, 2005 11:09 AM

If you want to organize and fight ludicrous prosecutions like this one over reasonable spanking of children, join the CP Prosecutions list at yahoogroups.com

Posted by: D.J. at May 5, 2005 02:44 PM

The mother in this case was trying to protect her child. This is normal. It's not normal to whip a person with a belt! When will people wake up and realize that children are human beings, and that "discipline" means to teach, not to whip somebody. All this boy did was forget his homework. His father could have just handed it to him, or reminded him, geesh. If one of you were whipped for forgetting something, you'd bring felony charges I'm sure. This father is dangerous, and hasn't a clue how to communicate or raise a child. In 14 countries it's illegal to assault children, and child abuse has gone way down in those places. But here in the US we tolerate hitters, as long as they call their sadism "discipline." I say congrats to the Plymouth law enforcers for calling "spanking" what it really is, assault. Hope the guy pays a BIG fine, and if anyone deserves to be "spanked" it's him! Let's use the belt on HIM, then he'll stop assaulting his child. But the law protects these creeps, you can't hit a prisoner. And those of you who think it's OK to be hit because it happened to you as a child, well it looks like your brains were affected by all that hitting! Studies show people have lower IQs when they've been hit as kids.

Posted by: m&m at May 7, 2005 08:05 AM

Prisoners and animals can't be treated like this and if this was done to an adult they'd be arrested for assault. People who do this to their kids are thugs.

Posted by: GoodMom at September 25, 2005 06:46 PM
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