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Mom Faces Felony Charges After Using Belt on Kids, Police Say

The 38-year-old Port Washington woman allegedly hit her 12-year-old son and then 13-year-old daughter on the wrists with a belt.

A Port Washington mom faces 30 years in prison and $100,000 in fines after being charged with hitting her two children with a belt.

The 38-year-old woman was charged in Ozaukee County court on Tuesday with two counts of physical abuse of a child recklessly causing great bodily harm. The woman is not being named to protect the children's identities.

The 12-year-old boy told police that about 6:30 a.m. Monday his mother used a leather belt and hit his forearm, leaving a mark that measured 6 to 8 inches in length that caused him "pain," according to the criminal complaint.

The daughter, who turned 14 the day after the incident, told police she tried to intervene while her mom was hitting her brother, the complaint said. Her mother then grabbed her by the hair and puller her out of the house using "very bad words," toward the girl. The mother drove her to Upper Lake Park where she struck the daughter with the belt, also on her forearm.

The woman shows no prior criminal record in CCAP. She is out of custody on a $1,000 signature bond and is expected to appear in court at 10 a.m. Feb. 12 for status hearing.

charles barrie January 31, 2013 at 05:05 PM
My mom paddled me with a wooden spoon, tennis shoe, my dad used a belt. I was a very outspoken child that challenged my parents. I never once considered myself abused or victimized. Society has changed some for the good some for the worse concerning parent - child conflict resolve. Well we hear the criminal complaint with some bias as the coverage doesn't fairly detail the mothers account. She may have been oft provoked, may be up against a separated or divorced other parent giving harmful liberties that she is forced yo counter. Who knows? Felony charges seem unrealistic but maybe she is finally caught in flagrant hostilities. It remains bias without hearing her side of story. Maybe as melodramtic as her belt episode may appear the children love her and forgive some rash inappropriate measures, the court may not care what their reference is. Seems more a realm for social services than a felony charge. Can't judge the matter without the mother's account. I disagree with using a belt although it didn't affect me much being punished with one. Punishment was meted out because I needed it not because my parents were irrational or emotionally unsound. I'm curious as yo the mothers account. Printing this article without her reference is a bias. Kind of sad.
Rik Kluessendorf January 31, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Why do you all consider the second part of this story to be completely unimportant? Most of you commenting keep saying that you went through something similar as a child. I'm guessing that you mean that you went through some type of physical discipline. I did too. Most of us did. But it's the second part of this that makes this something different. If the facts of this work out that this woman only used a belt against her son as some sort of physical punishment, then we're in a grey area, sure. Some will say it's fine, some will say it isn't. Then the comments make sense. But the allegations (again, if they prove to be true) have this woman TAKING A SECOND CHILD OUT OF THE HOUSE FOR INTERVENING, REMOVING HER TO ANOTHER LOCATION, AND THEN BEATING HER WITH THE BELT FOR HER INTERVENTION. In case you missed it, that is the story here. That is where I can't fathom how anyone can defend her. And that is something that many commenting here seem to be completely overlooking. Is that normal? Was that a part of your household? That your parent would remove you from the house by your hair for saying that the parent went too far, the parent calling you expletives, and then (once outside of the moment) still beating you with a belt for intervening in the other child's discipline?
Mary Boyle January 31, 2013 at 06:42 PM
I am shocked and appalled that any grown person would stand by any physical punishment of a child as being acceptable. Just because you "turned out fine" doesn't mean that it was a successful tool for discipline. My guess is the majority of you who were physically punished as children do not remember the actual offense that you were punished for, so did you learn your lesson? In fact, hitting a child only teaches them that it's okay for bigger, stronger people to hurt smaller people; anger only breeds more anger. No matter how trying children can be (and, believe me, I know how trying they can be), it is the job of a responsible parent/caregiver to be the voice of reason. Of course you're going to lose your temper sometimes - then you give yourself a time-out until you can think calmly and rationally, just as you would when another adult makes you angry. We want to raise responsible people, and responsibility only comes when you are given respect and rights.
Chris January 31, 2013 at 07:04 PM
Anyone think about if this woman goes to jail and receives that huge ass fine what THAT would do to her children? The affects of that (being teased for having a mom in the slammer) and monies going towards her fine instead of a college fund would be worse than getting smacked with a belt.
Chris January 31, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I'm shocked and appalled that people would rather kids be delinquents and get run into at a grocery store or have a dinner or movie out interrupted by a child who's parents aren't keeping a handle on their kids.
Chris January 31, 2013 at 07:08 PM
And by the way, I got the belt once for saying my mom was fat. I never did that again.
Rik Kluessendorf January 31, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Perhaps those children should be taken home and beaten with a belt? And maybe the child who refuses to eat his broccoli should also be beaten with a belt. Maybe that kid who looks at his mom wrong - yep, belt. (note the sarcasm) Chris, you argue that the end result of NOT beating your children with a belt is that they run around like delinquents. Is that how you feel? As and for whether this woman goes to jail - that is for a court to decide (again, first we must see that the allegations are true). And that will be decided with a whole lot more information than what we know. Maybe the mom was tiny, the kid large, and the kid attacked her physically. Maybe the mom was a fitness guru, the kid handicapped, and the kid used the wrong spoon to eat his dinner. At this point we don't know the facts - as you and others keep repeating. But we do know the allegations, and from those allegations, we can decide if this behavior, if proven, is ever justifiable. Because of the second half of the allegations, if the allegations have any basis in fact, then this isn't a witch hunt to charge the woman. This (if proven) is a parent that took whatever might be a grey area and went nuts with it by what she did to the second child. There is no justification for that. So charge her, find out the remaining back story, and THEN decide responsibility and punishment. And yes, everything I'm saying is qualified - the first thing is to decide if the allegations are truthful.
charles barrie January 31, 2013 at 09:17 PM
There isn't enough information to warrant a lynching spirit. Some of the text thread here is condescending and hostile in tone. Don't think I will be apart of these texts threads again. Only tend towards a common sense approach to what appears to be an overblown account. Without a detailed reality of the household a said incident does not stand alone sufficient to merit felony charges. I don't offer a judgement of opinion on varieties of physical punishment parenting right or wrong, a mother losing control of herself with unknown factors is due mercy considering the level of those unstated factors. Without having her account is just plain bias interpretation. So I feel bad for this family and their overall difficulties. The mothers account could be heavy with distraught extenuating circumstances, its missing here. This isn't a mother torturing or burning cigarettes in arms of children. It appears to be a mother at wits end trying to deal with teenage resistance. I don't agree with using a belt, but a felony? Oh boy I hope our justice system isn't that opportunistic to now be putting parents in prison like this. Thank you.
Mary Boyle January 31, 2013 at 09:23 PM
@ Chris: so you are saying that if children are not physically disciplined, they will turn out to be delinquents? That simply isn't true. A child who doesn't do something out of fear that they will be physically punished has only learned fear - or to not get caught. There is no true teaching or learning happening in that type of scenario.
Ali January 31, 2013 at 11:47 PM
I never hit my children and they are polite and quite in public. My oldest has been an honor roll student since he started school. Kids should not learn abuse is normal. It's not. It only teaches violence is ok . Kids usually grow up and abuse drugs and alcohol. The pain will stay with them a lifetime ... I guarantee they will remember the punishment but not what they did wrong. Teach your kids through example. Show them love and attention.
Greg Huegerich February 01, 2013 at 05:36 AM
Exactly Macey, it seems pretty clear from the story that the mom lost control of herself and moved from punishment/correction to fairly vindictive and abusive behavior. There's always more to the story, but when a child's isn't behaving properly, its not an excuse for the parent to cross the line and behave in an even more out of control manner to try to compensate. You wind up with a mess. Using words a few different ways here .... Discipline can take many forms ... but to properly apply discipline to a child, usually involves some emotional discipline from the parent for it to be at all effective. Have a kid that gravitates towards being loud? Guess what? Outshouting them and getting more emotional isn't the right way to go, it just leads to worse behavior, and attempting to apply physical discipline when overly emotional is about the worst thing a parent can do. You see it manifest itself in a lot of places nowadays, road rage, random fights, senseless confrontations because people feel "disrespected". Guessing that played in with this situation, daughter telling mom she's gone too far, mom still enraged, the cone of anger turns on the daughter. Yes, it sure seems like abuse.
jackie February 01, 2013 at 11:54 PM
@Ali, Kids grow up using drugs and alcohol is because of pyschological problems that needed to be addressed and chose not to by either the child or parents/parent. Regarding the story of the mom taking her female child to another location, there are many scenerios that could have happened. We don't know. I am not saying what this mother did regarding the different location was right. I am not condoning that fact at all. However, I truly believe that "some" teenagers today does not know the consequences of their actions. So they continue to do whatever is "fun" for them. There are parents who will say "oh, let kids be kids. or what harm are they doing". Regardless of whatever method parent choose, there will always be a fine line between discipline and abusive through other people's eyes.
Rik Kluessendorf February 02, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Jackie, By your logic, we shouldn't be charging people with murder because, we don't know their back story or situation. We shouldn't be charging people with domestic violence because, hey, we don't know the circumstances. There's a fine line between a fight in a relationship and domestic abuse through other people's eyes, right? We don't condone that either, but maybe there's a reason we just don't see - no sense destroying a family on that, right? You honestly think that these allegations are not worth bringing charges on because we don't know the back story?
jackie February 02, 2013 at 04:11 PM
Rik, My experience as a mother of 3 teenagers... THEY LIE. In this particular case, we do not know why the mother did what she did. This is about a mother who have gone too far in disciplining her daughter. I think 10 yrs is too much. Hell they dont even give that to drunk drivers who cause family pain. Everyone will have their opinion and that is the beauty of living in America. I feel that in this particular case, the mother went to far and she deserves consequences for her action. But have the punishment fit the crime not made as an example for others.
anon February 02, 2013 at 07:18 PM
These are incredibly respectful and well behaved kids. Back off on your "rebellious teenager" theories!
Greg Huegerich February 02, 2013 at 10:50 PM
If a kid has complained to the police, is showing marks and the story is backed up by the other sibling with an arrest seems pretty reasonable. The DA's office doesn't charge people lightly with crimes. Charges come based on what evidence is gathered, and what sort of surrounding information may be available. I'm going to wager that a felony charge for someone with no prior public criminal record means that there may have been some confidential investigations going on (eg. Child Services) and that while there is no criminal or arrest record, there may have been some other stuff happening that isn't visible to the rest of us.
Bridgett Bartlein Drews February 02, 2013 at 10:50 PM
And maybe they are respectful & well behaved. I'm sure there is alot more to this story & I agree with Jackie. Let the punishment fit the crime & she will have her day in court.
vocal local 1 February 03, 2013 at 08:05 AM
What bothers me is the sentence: thirty years and 100,000.00 in fines. No wonder our prisons are overcrowded. I look at moms possible consequence and think it is abusive, and unjust. In the late 60's early 70's in my first child development class, we as a class decided a belt was the best choice to spank children as belt material would not break bones as parents may not realize their strength. The other choices were a paddle from a paddle ball toy, wooden spoon, or hand. I agree most often in the real world, chlld rearing family when and if a parent chooses corporal punishment the parent has been pushed to the limit especially in the case of teens. I also know kids are exposed to many environments with the expectations of behavior changing for the kids in the various environments at times even more so for children living in divorced parent homes. Dad has one set of rules mom another with no official mediator negoitating common acceptable behaviors and consequences. Add the fact that many don't know, understand or consistently use limits, rewards and consequences of behavior modification and we end up with large numbers of children not learning acceptable social behaviors. Court involvement is probably not going to help this family. Mom already has been stripped of authority. Mom's best choice for self would be to let Social Services take the kids and pay support. Let the kids go into foster or institutional care and totally fail as the majority who enter at their ages do.
Robert February 03, 2013 at 04:28 PM
one thing overlooked in all of the emotion here is that there is a common law privilege of reasonable discipline. Also, Wisconsin law likewise provides for a privilege of reasonable discipline of a child. It does not ban spankings, even with an instrument such as a belt or a spoon, so long as it is reasonable and does not result in great bodily harm. The statutes recognize that there is a broad range of feeling on the subject of corporal punishment, and accordingly requires only reasonableness, not consensus that the discipline necessarily is correct. The allegations here do not appear to meet the legal definition for great bodily harm. In fact, a "mark" could be nothing more than a temporary red mark on the skin that is gone in a few minutes, depending on the person. Great bodily harm requires some thing far more serious, such as a broken bone or disfigurement.
Robert February 03, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Also, in assessing whether the type of discipline here may or may not be appropriate based on circumstances of which we are not aware, we should all keep in mind that our great state authorizes adult prison sentences for kids as young as these who commit crimes, including sentences of up to life in prison without parole.
NObama 2012 February 03, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I would bet that the woman that hit her kids signed the recall petition. Take it from me; I’ve been hit by a few Progressives in my day. One of the most violent displays of human behavior you will see is when a Progressive loses an argument. We all saw the violent displays during the Act 10 protests and the hate crimes launched against Rebecca Kleefisch, Scott Walker, and Glen Grothman ect. Progressives get their way through violence and intimidation. I will await the name of the 38 year old woman from Port Washington and confirm if my hunch was right.
NObama 2012 February 03, 2013 at 05:36 PM
Tony, you deserved every bit of that beating.
Tony February 03, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Yes, I did!
oak creek resident February 03, 2013 at 09:30 PM
Well, now you know why some kids are the way they are nowadays. No respect, lazy, punky attitudes. The little darlings can't be touched by their parents or the parents are the ones threatened to go to jail. This mother did not use the belt for no reason. This society has really gotten pathetic! Then people wonder why the youth in this country go off the deep end. It's not because of discipline, it's due to lack of discipline!
Jake Brunette February 04, 2013 at 06:20 PM
This is very very sad. Children look up to their parents more than anyone else, breaks my heart.
morninmist February 04, 2013 at 09:32 PM
whow. what a bunch of poop!! .................... NObama 2012 11:35 am on Sunday, February 3, 2013 I would bet that the woman that hit her kids signed the recall petition ..........
Amitiel February 07, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Nice hate speech.
Amitiel February 07, 2013 at 04:58 AM
Nice hate speech. I would bet that the person behind NObama 2012 is a judgmental person with little discernment. And I would base this on the above statements of ignorance. Please don't prove that Oz County is full of a lot of uneducated opinionated bigots. Just don't speak, or type... at all.
Amitiel February 07, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Agreed. The "abuse" laws are applied loosely where it's convenient, and not applied where it is more difficult, but appropriate. Sometimes, at least. Not to say I think it's wonderful, but it's not a perfect simple decision or solution like "she must be a progressive" and that's why it happened... tempers flare on all sides of all spectrums and it's unfortunate when children are in the mix.
Kathy February 10, 2013 at 06:32 AM
Maybe rhe daughter had to be some place and the mother was taking her there and the kid started spouting off? Maybe the mother was trying to diffuse the situation be separating the two kids. WE DO NOT KNOW. Kids say things, they lie who knows. Just because you are unable to look at a bigger picture and chose to see things based om your own prejudices this should not pave a way for you to endlessly question other points of view. And yes, things like this do happen. My dad once removed me from the home to send a very clear message. After having my rear tanned I threatened to runaway and go to police. He drove me to police station, on the way anytime I spouted off I received his right hand on my face. Guess what? I deserved it. I was disrespectful as were my younger siblings. WE ended up at the old Sentry store in Grafton. It was the 70's, child rearing was a family affair. Sheesh I can even remember my neighbors having the power to see me get spanked. Kids did not disrespect any adults back then. Ya my story and generalized perhaps, all I'm saying is it's a different world out there now with kids and parenting choices / rights. On another note. Kids today are taught in school that if they feel threatened they should call police, Teachers also watch for signs of abuse. My son walked into a display case at a store and had bruised eye. The school called CPS, I endured a "witch hunt" and I was not alone. Targetted because we were single moms. FIN

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