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'Hot Sauce Mom' on Trial in AK for Child Abuse

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 18, 2011 1:09 PM

The "Hot Sauce Mom" trial began this week in Anchorage, Alaska, with prosecutors showing members of the jury a video of Jessica Beagley punishing her 7-year-old adoptive son.

Charged with misdemeanor child abuse in February, the mom's unorthodox style of discipline came to light after Beagley sent a video to the Dr. Phil show of her placing drops of hot sauce on the child's tongue and then forcing him to stand in a cold shower as he screamed.

Beagley and her police officer husband, who adopted the boy and his twin from Russia, have claimed that traditional methods of discipline have not stopped the boy's misbehavior during class, reports the Associated Press.

The hot sauce/shower punishment shown in the video was in response to "wriggling in his seat and sword-fighting with pencils."

According to Jessica Beagley's attorney, child abuse laws in Alaska require proof that the punishment was "cruel, gratuitous and done with the intent to inflict pain."

Prosecutors in the "Hot Sauce Mom" trial pointed out that Beagley had turned the water all the way to cold in Alaska, reports UPI.

They will likely also call the punishment disproportionate to the boy's offense, as 7-year-old boys typically engage in such activity.

Moreover, the twins were born to an alcoholic mother, indicating that there may be a larger problem at work, such as a developmental or attention disorder, that would make such discipline inherently cruel.

With the public's negative reaction, it likely won't be hard to convince the jury that hot sauce and cold showers are cruel and gratuitous, meaning that the "Hot Sauce Mom" trial will come down to the question of whether Jessica Beagley intended to harm her child.

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