By Ashton Goodell
Channel 2 News
12:40 PM AKDT, August 22, 2011
In closing statements Monday at Jessica Beagley’s child-abuse trial, the prosecution said that “The Dr. Phil Show” shares the blame for her disciplining her adopted son with hot sauce-- but the defense said she was simply punishing misbehavior.
According to prosecutor Cynthia Franklin, Beagley wrote to “Dr. Phil” producers after watching a segment entitled “Angry Mom.” More than a year later, she received a return call asking if she was still angry. The mother of six said she was, and agreed to tape her interactions with her family.
The prosecution called the videos audition tapes, which Beagley used not to get help but to get on TV. One of tape shows Beagley yelling at her son and forcing him to swish hot sauce in his mouth for lying. She then puts him in a cold shower as punishment for being put in time out at school.
Defense attorney William Ingaldson says the methods aren't torture or cruel punishment. He said Beagley didn't punish her kids for fun, but rather in response to their misbehavior.
"We shouldn't be here," Ingaldson said.
Beagley told her attorney she wished she had never sent the tapes to "Dr. Phil," saying she has been humiliated by the attention the video received. Her attorney said Beagley told the producers she refused to hurt her children just to get on the program.
Beagley turned to hot sauce and cold showers after other punishments didn't work. Ingaldson says his client didn't want to punish her children, but felt compelled to correct bad behavior. He pointed out that the state Office of Children’s Services didn't intervene.
The child shown in the video was diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder after the “Dr. Phil” segment aired and charges were brought against Beagley. A therapist working with the 7-year-old said she believes the emotional disorder resulted from trauma sustained before the Beagleys adopted the boy.
The psychologist who diagnosed the child said children with the disorder are uncontrollable and don't show empathy. Beagley’s defense says the problems at home frustrated her to a point where she started escalating punishment -- but the prosecution says the boy is not on trial.
Contact Ashton Goodell at email@example.com
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