The parents behind the controversial “DaddyOFive” YouTube channel, which featured parents “pranking” their children to the point of screaming and tears, have each been sentenced to five years probation for child neglect, Buzzfeed News is reporting.
Mike and Heather Martin, of Ijamsville, Maryland, were both officially charged with child neglect in August, as the Inquisitr reported at the time. This week, the couple each entered what is known as “Alford pleas.” That means that the parents essentially entered guilty pleas, while not admitting any wrongdoing, but at the same time admitting that the state had enough evidence to prove guilt.
While the pair remain under probation, they are not to have contact with the two youngest of their five children, Cody and Emma, nor are they allowed to post videos of them on social media.
The Martins became subjects of international outrage in April 2017, when horrified viewers took exception to the treatment of the children in the videos — particularly the two youngest — and contacted authorities. In particular, Rose Hall, the biological mother of 9-year-old Cody and his sister Emma, noticed the videos and contacted the police.
In one video, titled “Invisible Ink Prank,” Heather spilled disappearing ink on the carpet. The parents then accused the kids of having spilled the ink, loudly chastising them and, at one point, even screaming obscenities. Protesting their innocence, the kids dissolved into tears. Finally, the parents, laughing, tell them it was “just a prank.”
— Artarius Media (@ArtariusMedia) August 12, 2017
In another, the parents pretended to play the “bottle flip” game with the kids, and then goaded them into slapping each other if the person flipping the bottle failed to do it properly.
In another video, Michael Martin shoved Cody into a bookcase, giving him a bloody nose in the process.
— The News Plug (@TheNewsPlug) August 12, 2017
The Martins, for their part, insisted that the kids actually enjoyed participating in the videos, once they realized they’d been pranked. What’s more, the parents claimed that the family used the money generated by the YouTube channel to take the family on trips to Disneyworld and buy the kids expensive gaming consoles.
Maryland authorities, however, didn’t see things that way. In May, a state psychologist determined that the two youngest kids had suffered “mental injury” from the videos, and the two youngest were taken away from the Martins. The three older children were not found to have been injured, and it is believed that they remain in the custody of the Martins (child-custody cases are generally kept confidential, so it is not clear, as of this writing, where, specifically, they are living).
Moving forward, says the Martins’ attorney, Stephen Tully, the couple are aware of the seriousness of their behavior and are “fully satisfied” with the court’s decision.
Do you believe the DaddyOFive YouTube parents got the right sentence? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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