A Florida woman was acquitted of child abuse charges after forcibly shaving her daughter’s head and piercing her genitals in an attempt to curb the 13 year-old’s promiscuity. The event occurred after the girl allegedly had sex with her mother’s boyfriend. The prosecuting attorney argued a case of mental and physical abuse and introduced a motive of retribution and jealousy, but the jury saw only a loving mother doing all she could to help her troubled daughter, and found that the case intruded upon her parental rights.
Defense attorney Donald Day:
“What do you do when a child says ‘no’ and continues on a path of destruction?” he asked, adding that parents do what it takes. “… What were the options? Do nothing?”
The mother did take her daughter to a clinic for birth control and an exam, but then resorted to phoning local police in attempts to uncover whom her daughter was sleeping with. (Fishy?) The defense, however, used these efforts to illustrate how badly the system had “failed her.” So her “options” were jail or mutilation? Um, what about a therapist? What about ANYTHING else? And what about the boyfriend willing to have sex with (molest) a 13-year old?
The interesting thing about this horrific case is that two judges refused plea bargains that they felt were too lenient on the mother. The case went to trial because County Judge Mike Carr and Circuit Judge Fred Hardt felt the mother deserved a harsher punishment for her actions. It was a jury who felt otherwise. The five men and one women on Collier Circuit Court jury took about three hours to come up with their verdict.
Aggravated child abuse: Not Guilty. Child abuse: Not Guilty.
Defendants of the crime repeatedly emphasized the mother’s deeply caring nature and her desperation to change her daughter’s behavior. Sexually abused as a child this poor soul was only trying to protect her daughter from what she viewed as an act fraught with danger and pain. Her 20-year old son got teary-eyed as he testified to his sister’s wild ways and his mothers vain attempts to control her.
She forcibly shaved her head and pierced her –clitoris? labia? All articles are too genteel to specify.
“It wasn’t torture or extreme violence,” Day said. “It was, in the young girl’s words, to try to save her.”
Not torture or extreme violence. Children’s Services were initially called because the piercing had become infected and needed to be removed. Photos of the child’s labia, replete with redness, swelling, and pus, were entered into the record.
Have you ever had a deeply infected wound? This is true: Last week I was bitten by a stray cat on my lower leg. As this wasn’t the first time this has happened, I was on antibiotics literally two hours later. The next morning I couldn’t walk. My lower leg was swollen, hot and red, but not to the point of pus, and yet I couldn’t so much as touch my foot to the floor. If there had been no infection, the mother would be just as culpable, but the blatant failure to acknowledge a 13 year-olds physical and emotional agony at the hands of her own mother is astounding.
If someone had forced a Prince-Albert on a 13-year old boy, I don’t think Donald Day would call it anything but torture and degradation.
“You can now look at your children and say, ‘I did the best I can,’” jury foreman Colin Kelly told her, holding her hands as her eyes welled with tears. “This could happen to anyone.”
Those six jurors somehow found these acts exonerable. “But she meant well!” seems to have been argument enough. Kelly is later quoted as saying
“Maybe it was not the best decision in the world, but the intent was to try to stop a girl who was completely out of control…Are you going to put every parent in jail for making a bad decision?”