A father from Queensbury, New York, faces felony assault charges, after spanking his 6-year-old son last weekend. Jeffrey Lamphear, 39, allegedly hit his child on the buttocks. According to Lamphear, he was disciplining his son. He told the police that is is possible that he spanked his child harder than he thought he did, but asserts the child was only spanked, and that the spanking was done as punishment.
The authorities were notified when the child’s mother discovered bruising and welts on the child’s buttock. According to WNYT News, the child’s mother took her son to the emergency room, when she saw the marks on her son’s buttocks. There were no marks elsewhere on the child’s body, according to the most updated report. The police say the boy did not sustain serious injuries.
As well as facing felony assault charges, Lamphear has been ordered to stay away from his child. According to social media discussion, Lamphear is being both condemned and supported for the way he disciplined his child.
“Definitely not applauding him, however, some kids bruise easy. I know me and my kids do. He looks like a big man so he probably did spank a little harder than he should have however, I wasn’t there, can’t judge,” Rachel Thomas-Baker from New York wrote.
“This story is ridiculous! Felony I think not. Spanking a child is up to the parent not the cops or our legal system. Sounds like the mom is out for revenge on her former lover. If he does not have a record and this is the first time and the child has no other welts or black and blue marks case closed. He’s 6 I’m sure he can tell what’s going on,” Cas Pearsall wrote.
“This is what often happens with corporal punishment. People get carried away in their own anger. The answer? Stop using it. There are better, more effective ways to discipline (teach) a child right from wrong. The only thing hitting teaches is hitting and fear,” Betsy Williams Briggs wrote.
New York penal code Section 35.10 does not generally consider spankings by a parent illegal. Physical force used upon a child is legally justified, according to New York law, if a parent is disciplining a child and provided that it is not deadly force. The parent must also reasonably believe that the extent of the punishment is needed to maintain discipline.
“A parent, guardian or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a person under the age of twenty-one or an incompetent person, and a teacher or other person entrusted with the care and supervision of a person under the age of twenty-one for a special purpose, may use physical force, but not deadly physical force, upon such person when and to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline or to promote the welfare of such person.”
Legislation has been discussed in New York that would restrict the kind of physical force a parent would legally be permitted to use.
“Currently the penal law allows the use of physical force, other than deadly force, to be used by a parent, guardian or teacher to the extent that he reasonably believes it necessary to maintain discipline,” the penal code amendment proposal explained in bill S266-2011.
More recent legislation was written to change the wording of the law such that physical force would be allowed “except if such physical force leads to significant physical or emotional harm constituting an offense upon such person.” So far, the code remains on the books the same was it has been written since the 70s.
What do you think? Should this father face felony assault charges and be restricted from seeing his son for spanking him and leaving bruises and welts on his buttocks?
[Photo via Warren County Sheriff]