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Mom in Hot Water After Admitting She Forced Son to Drink Hot Sauce on 'Dr. Phil'
Filed under: In The News
Granted, the segment is called "Mommy Confessions," but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know it's probably not the smartest thing in the world to appear on "Dr. Phil" with a home video of yourself screaming and berating your kid as you force him into a cold shower and shove hot sauce down his throat.
But an Alaskan mother did just that, and was arrested and charged with child abuse today after her appearance on the afternoon talk show, ABC News reports.
Jessica Beagley, a 36-year-old mother of six, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse in an Anchorage, Alaska courtroom, according to the network. She was not present at the arraignment, but her attorneys filed a not guilty plea.
On the show, which aired in November, Beagley told Dr. Phil McGraw she had trouble disciplining her adopted son Kristoff, 7, who has a twin, Kolya. Her home video brought McGraw's wife, Robin, and audience members to tears, according to the "Dr. Phil" website.
"We've tried a lot of different things to punish the kids," Beagley said on the show, admitting she's angry at the boy all the time, screams at him, puts hot sauce in his mouth and places him in a cold shower when he acts up.
In her home video, Beagley says she adopted the twins and felt an immediate bond with Kolya, but not Kristoff. The mom admits to spanking her child and forcing him to do jumping jacks until he's exhausted. During the video shown on "Dr. Phil," the boy is punished for getting "three cards pulled," meaning three infractions at school, ABC reports.
Beagley tells McGraw she berates Kristoff because he "is a chronic liar."
"He lies about most everything," she says. "He's been caught a number of times stealing food. Kristoff steals, not because he's hungry, but because he sees it, and he wants it. At my very lowest point, I thought that maybe it was a mistake to adopt the boys, but we have them now, and I'm not sending them back. So we just have to learn how to deal with them."
The home video was shot by Beagley's 10-year-old, according to the "Dr. Phil" website.
Experts on the show immediately called the mom's behavior child abuse, according to the "Dr. Phil" website.
"Dr. Phil, no one in this audience can stay in our seats," Areva Martin, a family attorney and child advocate, said during the show. "We're just appalled at this. We're looking at this little boy who seems so sweet and innocent, and we're looking at this behavior as moms. We're just shocked."
After the show aired, viewers flooded the Anchorage Police Department with calls, police tell ABC. The Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor said in court documents that the behavior in the video violates the municipal code protecting against child abuse.
"Nothing Jessica has done is criminal. If you give your child food that has hot sauce on it -- maybe they eat Mexican food -- does that mean its child abuse?" Bill Ingaldson, a lawyer for Beagley, tells ABC.
Beagley's next court date is scheduled for March.
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