Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Trial Of Anchorage "Hot Sauce Mom" Jessica Beagley Begins; Beagley Charged With One Count Misdemeanor Child Abuse

Update August 18th: Read the account of Day Two of the trial HERE, and Day Three HERE.

The long-awaited trial of Anchorage "hot sauce mom" Jessica Beagley began on August 16th, 2011 with jury selection. At least 40 prospective jurors were screened to determine who would sit on the panel. Only six jurors -- plus one or two alternates -- are necessary for a misdemeanor municipal case. District Court Judge David Wallace will preside; because the boy that Beagley allegedly "abused" was adopted from Russia, two reporter-photographer teams working for Russian media will be present.

-- All previous posts on this case available HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

-- Alaska Court System database entry on Jessica Beagley HERE, designated as Case No. 3AN-11-00323CR.

-- Seven-page charging document still available HERE

Beagley is standing trial on one count of misdemeanor child abuse. It stems from a November 17th, 2010 appearance on the Dr. Phil show where her "hot sauce" disciplinary techniques were displayed. Beagley wanted help in dealing with a difficult Russian adoptee. A video showed Jessica requiring her son to drink a negligible amount of hot sauce and hold it in his mouth as punishment for both misbehaving in school AND lying about it. The boy was not required to swallow the hot sauce; after 30 seconds, he was permitted to spit it out. In addition, the video showed the boy being required to take a brief cold shower as part of the punishment.

The story went viral, with dozens of people posting comments to countless websites and blogs. Perhaps feeling public pressure, municipal prosecutors decided to charge Beagley. On January 28th, 2011, Beagley pleaded not guilty. Because adopted Russian kids retain their Russian citizenship until their 18th birthday, Russia took an official interest in the case. Andrey Bondarev of the Russian Consulate in Seattle reportedly visited the Beagleys, and said all of the six Beagley children looked well and that Beagley promised she would never again punish the boy with her previous extreme measures. Here's the three-minute video once again showing Beagley disciplining her son:

Jessica Beagley is married to Anchorage Police Officer Gary Beagley; they have six children, including two adpopted Russian twins. There have been no problems reported with the other Russian adoptee or the other four children; as a matter of fact, the Office of Children's Services investigated the case and found there was no abuse. Gary Beagley has not been hassled by his employer over the incident.

Expected Outcome: If this trial was being held in Fairbanks, Kenai, or the Mat-Su Valley, chances of an acquittal would be good. This prosecution appears to be politically motivated, with prosecutors seeking to make an example out of Beagley. However, the trial is being held in Anchorage, where progressive influence is stronger. Progressives tend to look to government for sole-source salvation, so they are more likely to favor state intervention in child-rearing. There have been no reports that the state found it necessary to remove any of the children from the Beagley home. Even so, the consequences of a misdemeanor conviction should be negligible; the prosecution might consider a conviction alone to be enough of a symbolic victory, and not demand a pound of flesh in sentencing.

1 comment:

  1. http://www.change.org/petitions/child-services-in-alaska-take-the-children-away-from-jessica-beagley-aka-hot-sauce-mom