Child welfare professionals and everyday citizens say they outraged over Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson’s alleged beating of his 4-year-old child.
Peterson’s lawyer said he never meant to harm the child, but other people are saying that’s ludicrous.
Christine Parker, the director of Belmont County Children’s Services said there is a clear difference between discipline and abuse. She said spanking is defined as striking a fully-clothed child on the rear with an open hand. “Abuse would be using an object on your child or hitting your child to the point where you’re leaving marks,” Parker said.
Parker said if Adrian Peterson committed that crime in Belmont County, he’d probably be in jail. “A lot of the time the person would be arrested immediately. And immediately going in front of the judge. A lot of times there’s an immediate stay-away order in place too–that the perpetrator could not have any contact with the child,” Parker added.
In this case, Peterson’s so-called “whooping” left his child with cuts and bruises on his back, buttocks, legs and scrotum. People are enraged. “it’s abuse is all it is. There’s no excuse for that,” said Christina Martin of Martins Ferry. Alicia Avilia of St. Clairsville agrees, “that degree of hurt would be excessive force.”
“I don’t think that’s discipline. It sounds like abuse. I think he needs to seek help,” Barbara Kuzinsky of St. Clairsville.
Peterson’s attorney said that’s the same kind of discipline that Peterson experienced, growing up as a child in East Texas. In Belmont County, officials say those days are over. “Well times have changed. And those forms of discipline are no longer accepted in our society. In fact, they’re no longer accepted – they’re also a crime,” Parker said.
Several people agree they think Peterson should not be allowed to play football.