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Alaska Mom Convicted of Child Abuse for Hot-Sauce Discipline Portrayed on ‘Dr. Phil’

Posted Aug 24, 2011 7:13 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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An Anchorage, Alaska, mom who punished her adopted son with hot sauce and a cold shower has been convicted of misdemeanor child abuse.

Sentencing for Jessica Beagley is scheduled for Monday, the Anchorage Daily News reports. She faces a sentence of up to a year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Beagley was prosecuted after she sent a video of her discipline to the Dr. Phil show. Prosecutor Cynthia Franklin had argued Beagley abused her 7-year-old son in an attempt to get on national TV. "She was demonstrating that she could be mean so she could get on the show," Franklin said.

Defense lawyer William Ingaldson countered that Beagley was having trouble controlling her son and was reaching out for help. The Beagleys went to Russia to adopt the boy and his twin brother in 2008.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Child Abuse Trial Begins for Mom Charged After Sending Video of Hot Sauce Discipline to Dr. Phil"

Wall Street Journal Law Blog: "A Q&A with William Ingaldson, Counsel for the ‘Hot Sauce’ Mom"

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